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By: Jamie Collins
Hello newbies and experienced paralegals! Today, I’m here to tell you about a paralegal reality. It’s a place where many of us live, breathe and dwell, a dimension of the legal universe otherwise known as “the B.C.” For those of you who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about right now, let me explain. The B.C. stands for: “beck and call.” (Often referred to as “beckon call,” by those of us who write things as we hear them, and hereinafter referred to as such in this blog post). Yep, that’s right. I am a paralegal. If you are one too, chances are, we have this one fabulous and/or frustrating thing in common or at least it’s likely we did at some point during our legal careers. That one thing is life on the ole’ B.C.
Beckon call, what’s that, the newbies ask? Um, basically, that means you find yourself at the attorneys’ beckon call. Now, to some of you, and perhaps many of you, that may sound like a negative thing, but in reality, at least for me, it’s not. It’s an opportunity. Perhaps more of an opportunity in disguise, but an opportunity, nevertheless, and I’m taking it. What kind of opportunity? The kind which allows you to become the most fundamentally important part of your attorney’s daily work life. How much bigger of an opportunity could one have? Truly?
You see, when you’re on the B.C., you innately become like a walking, living, breathing extension of the attorney. You could liken it to becoming a crutch for your supervising attorney. They want you. They need you. They must have you…present in the office for their every professional need. Did you catch that word? Professional. Your presence becomes crucial and your absence becomes a personal crisis that brings on the likes of a near death experience for many attorneys. One which leaves them aimlessly wandering through the law firm halls, uttering your name to passersby (your fellow paralegals, who chuckle), as they wander in search of you, the coveted, golden crutch…I mean…paralegal.
To be clear, we’re speaking in a strictly professional context here. And I’m certainly not speaking of life on the beckon call to that dreadful, small percentage of attorneys who prefer to treat their paralegals and support staff as legal peasants and personal servants. I am talking about a form of the beckon call which can only be earned with respect and trust, over time, when a positive working relationship allows a co-dependent dynamic to be created between an attorney and his or her truly amazing paralegal.
Now, there are some paralegals out there who despise the beckon call. There are others of us who only despise it only on certain days, when life on the B.C. simply pushes us a little too close to the edge of paralegal sanity, and makes us seriously contemplate either using the scissors on our desk as a makeshift weapon or briefly ponder the prospect of leaping out of that window in our office to freedom. Been there, done that…at least mentally, anyway. However, I’ve got to tell you that most days, living life on the ole’ B.C. isn’t so bad. It really isn’t.
When I hear my attorney take a call, I know he may need me to fetch a file or provide a critical piece of information, and there I’ll be. When he needs something really, really important (and by “really” important, I mean right this very second, without hesitation, and delivered with unwavering confidence, at a speed known as “pronto”), I appear, much like a genie out of a bottle. That’s me: a paralegal on the B.C. Your wish is my command, so long as it’s a moderately reasonable and professional request…and I haven’t stabbed anyone with scissors or leaped yet!
Some of you may laugh. Some of you may despise the B.C., but I’ve learned to embrace it. I’ve managed to turn it into an opportunity. I’ve learned that true B.C. status (not the mere misappropriation of staff or abuse by an esquire on a high horse) is typically only reserved for those chosen, coveted paralegals who have risen to the top of the legal major leagues and into the high priced seats of the paralegal stadium. You see, my fellow genies, and future genies…if you weren’t “that good,” they wouldn’t want you, and need you, and they certainly wouldn’t wander around aimlessly, longing for your presence with the same level of impassioned mourning and intensity that they would exude over a missing limb. Yep, that’s me, your paralegal, your right arm…literally. I’m on the B.C.
So, if you need me, you know where to find me, sitting in my 5th story office, on the B.C., with a big smile permanently pasted across my face (even if I want to kill you), a content heart, and hopefully, a sound mind, because I know that’s exactly where I’m needed…and that’s precisely where I’ll be…when he goes wandering the halls in my honor. Living life on the ole’ B.C.
A paralegal genie…yep…that’s me.
Is this you, too, TPS readers? You know it is! If you’re a student, consider this a looking glass. Here’s your future! We’d absolutely love to hear your stories of life on the B.C., so hit that comment button and share away. Consider it a bit of free paralegal therapy from us to you (or perhaps from you to us…actually)! Who has the best story of life on the ole’ B.C.? Share away!
Happy High Heel Friday, TPSers! Have an absolutely fantastic weekend. We’ll see you next week!
The Founder is officially in route to Tennessee for the NFPA Leadership Conference this weekend. It should be a great time!! See you there, Clair Ellis…and others!