Legal assistant vs. Paralegal “defined”

This article is meant to be funny, we think. It’s from The Snark, Georgia Daily Report’s anonymous associate:



(Pronunciation: le-glsis-tnt) direct object of Partner and/or Cog abuse.

Synonyms: Secretary, Legal Secretary, Right Hand, Co-Conspirator.

Definition: A secretary who gets a fancier title because she (or he) has to enter computer edits for Big Firm attorneys who never learned to use a word-processing program and who have a dire need to revise two sentences of a letter as many as 50 times at 5 p.m. — usually ending up with the exact same letter they dictated the first time. She (or he) is usually plugged in to the rumors, factual tidbits and nervous habits of the attorneys and the firm and knows more than the litigators do about where and how to file a complaint.

Usage: "The Partner made his legal assistant print all of his e-mails because he refused to learn to use a computer."


(Pronunciation: It takes two green associates to equal the value of one experienced par-le-gl) noun.

Synonyms: De Facto First-Year Associate, Organizer of Chaos, Unlicensed Attorney, Glutton for Punishment.

Definition: The often unknown, uncredited member of the Big Firm team who handles the mundane matters clients aren’t willing to pay $200-plus an hour for a Cog to do — like putting the 15 boxes of due diligence documents in reverse chronological order and then re-sorting them into alphabetical order after the Partner changes her mind.

Usage: "The paralegal screamed internally when the Cog asked her to create a 52-column Excel spreadsheet to summarize the closing documents."

2 Replies to “Legal assistant vs. Paralegal “defined””

  1. This is incorrect.

    A paralegal is like a lawyer ONLY he or she does not have a license to practice law.

    So, the paralegal will do all the research, analyze the case, draft a memo, and help prepare the lawyer whom is often incompetent, at trial or help him plan his or her negotiation with opposing counsel.

    the only thing a paralegal cannot do is: advise, negotiate, or represent a client in a court of law, and set fees.

    But educated paralegas learn the same thing law students learn in the first year if the paralegal is smart she will take those 1L classes at the paralegal college then she will be almost identical to a 1L.

  2. Did I say incompetent? let me qualify it, in law school you don’t learn didly squat, and only the best law students who use study aids to learn what they need and if the law student practices with hypos religiously in the first year, will that law student be in the top 10%. Otherwise, you don’t get feed back and you only have 1 exam, so how do you know that your doing things right? Oftentimes, the lawyer is still learning what he should have learned in his law school education while a lawyer.

    At least paralegals get the basics, true they are basic, but at least they can add to the basics by using the same study aid material law students use and they can play with hypos. And they even get feedback. So, oftentimes, a paralegal is much more competent that a lawyer.

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