I can’t count the number of times I’ve been the worst part of a client’s anger or irritation just from hearing that same client interact in a completely respectful manner with the attorney just one minute later. We understand that you are probably going through one of the most stressful and traumatic periods of your life; however, it does not give you a license to treat us badly during the process.
When we are mistreated forever inform our lawyer about it. Most of the time, the attorney will notice the poor treatment and will insist on interacting only with you in the future. If you don’t think it’s a “punishment,” I suggest you study the differences between your attorney’s hourly rate and your paralegal’s hourly rate. I have also witnessed how attorneys fired clients for an interaction that was deemed particularly egregious. Supposedly, if he didn’t want the lawyer to remain his lawyer, then he would have fired him instead of the other way around.
Paralegals have a long memory and more power to influence your case than you might think. Some of the tasks that we usually handle in the case of a client are:
Keep a case organized and move forward
Provide the client with updates on their case.
Drafting of many of the allegations and related correspondence.
File documents in court
Disseminate information about the case to those who have a need to know
While most paralegals will not allow a negative interaction with a client to seriously affect any future work on their case, it is quite common for us to put “difficult” client issues at the bottom of our to-do lists.
Bottom Line: Before launching an attack on your attorney’s paralegal, you should first consider how important the above tasks are to you. Bottom line: JUST BE NICE.
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