In the years that Melissa worked for me and wrote on this blog, it was nice to see how I developed as a character, person and boss. I enjoyed – after she left – reading through the years of posts and see what she thought of me, her job and life in a small firm. I say after she left because I never read the blog while she was here. This was not due to a lack of interest (or curiosity), but rather due to a belief that she should have her privacy and freedom to write about the office and me as she saw fit, without worry that I would be reading. But after she left, and as I read through the posts that encompassed her time here, it was nice to see ‘The Boss’ portrayed in such a positive light. I liked the idea of being this nameless character being written about by Melissa; being the flawed but competent employer often utilized as the backdrop of Melissa’s evaluation of her current mood or assessement of the paralegal profession… Due to my faceless/nameless character in the blog, I have read on here that some imagine me like Bruce Springsteen due to the character name I was given; sometimes the nameless character made me often even picture the character as Big from Sex in the City (I’m married, so I can make that reference and still maintain my manliness…right?). Well, I can assure you that I am nowhere near as cool as either Big or Springsteen, but I am more than happy to have you continue to think of me in either way (especially since many of us will likely never meet and thus you will never be disappointed in the reality).
I am sure at this point many of you are wondering why, now, nearly 2 years after Melissa’s departure from JNL, P.C., I am popping up again on Paralegalese. I wish it was because I was announcing her return to the office. But alas, that is not the case…..yet. But, 22 months later (and moving on to my 5th paralegal since she left, by the way), I could not shake the feeling that I never properly said goodbye, or how much Melissa was appreciated while she was here (and even worse, how much she was unintentionally underappreciated). And I figured, what better way could that be done than on this blog, where ‘The Boss’ was created and Melissa’s time with JNL, P.C. was played out in a much more positive, exciting manner than I think reality would ever portray. I have told people since Melissa left that it would have been much easier to replace me in this firm than it has been to replace her (a feat which, I fear, will never be accomplished). Make no mistake about it, the girl that you read on here is much smarter than most people you will likely ever meet or work for. She is smarter than me, and I think clients are starting to figure out she was the brains of the operation!
But even though I knew that while she was here, I never REALLY knew that until she left. As I said before, I am now on my fourth paralegal / legal secretary since Melissa left. None were horrible, none were even bad, but none were Melissa. Enough said. But every time I start out on the process to hire a paralegal or assistant, I find myself pulling out the measuring stick that Melissa left behind two years ago, and it becomes blaringly clear what I had with Melissa, and what I have dearly missed. To best sum up Melissa, the following is what I wrote in a recommendation letter for her as she has continued to pursue higher education. Ironically, this was written on March 18, 2011, almost a year to the day after she left my office:
Melissa Hinote was employed for two years before she moved to Memphis, Tennessee – much to my dismay. During those two years, Melissa proved herself to be unquestionably professional, motivated, intelligent and of the highest character. In an office of two people, you get to know the other person extremely well. As such, I came to know Melissa both professionally and personally, and can say without qualification that she is one of the most pleasant, caring, and dedicated people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with or knowing. During her time working with me, I came depend on her for everything from substantive legal work to making sure that I was prepared for, and did completely forget, meetings and trials. In that time, she never once disappointed me or failed to exceed my expectations. When she left, it became abundantly clear that I would have been easier to replace in my own office than she was – an assessment which has not changed in the year since she left.
I am convinced that no matter what Melissa does in life, she will surpass all expectations, and make proud the person or institution that gets to ‘claim’ her, so to speak. I can assure you that she will be an asset to your program and will excel academically. Not only academically, but seeing as I still have clients who bring her Christmas presents a year after she left, it is clear that her ability to personally connect with people would also be an asset to your program and those involved in it. More than academic abilities and personality, though, I urge you to accept her into the MA in Communications program so that your institution, along with a long list of others – of which I am proud to be a part of – can be one of the ones who get to
claim her as one of their own.
Now, if you are reading this, then that means Melissa has agreed to post this on the blog. Knowing Melissa, she will have a real problem with posting something that is complimentary to her. So, I will add for her benefit at this point, that I would consider it a personal slap in the face if she did not give me this opportunity to say hello to the fans of ‘The Boss’ that have been wondering how I am. I will be personally offended if this is not posted in its entirety (of course, after she proofreads it and makes changes to make me sound more intellectual and funny than I actually am).
If you are reading this blog, keep doing so. The writer is one of the smartest, most genuine people and talented writers you will ever have the chance to read. If you are a paralegal or in the legal field, read what she writes over and over – she knows what she is talking about. If there were a world full of paralegals like her, what a better profession the law would be.
It was nice to meet all of you and be the backdrop to Melissa’s writings. Thank you for your support of Melissa, she truly is as great and smart as she seems – and she is still missed.
(See what I did there, like at the end of Sex in the City – you learn Big’s name – okay, maybe not ….. told you I was not as cool as he was!)