Week-long Welcomings from Moosylvania: Jan. 24th through Jan. 30th

Welcome to The Moose Pond! The Welcomings posts give the Moose, old and new, a place to visit and share words about the weather, life, the world at large and the small parts of Moosylvania that we each inhabit.

Welcomings will be posted at the start of each week (every Sunday morning). To find the posts, just bookmark this link and Voila! (which is Moose for “I found everyone!!”).

The format is simple: each day, the first moose to arrive on-line will post a comment welcoming the new day and complaining (or bragging!) about their weather. Or mentioning an interesting or thought provoking news item. Or simply checking in.

So … what’s going on in your part of Moosylvania?

NOTE: The comments page will now split off after 20 or so left margin comments with the most recent comments on the current page. To see the older comments, scroll to the bottom of the page and use the link.

  179 comments for “Week-long Welcomings from Moosylvania: Jan. 24th through Jan. 30th

  1. January 30, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Hello again! Forgot to ask the question I wanted to ask: has anyone here ever worked in a law office? If you have, what was the nature of the support roles? For example, I suppose there are word processing people (although now they’re called desktop publishers). Is there a person who schedules the appointments and if so, is she or he called a receptionist or a scheduler? (Conceivably there are still receptionists who greet visitors.) Also, is there an in-house mail person who delivers paper documents throughout the building?

    The March short story is well underway but I need more info. Thanks in advance if you can help!

    • JanF
      January 30, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      I have worked with law offices but none that were large enough to have mailrooms and buildings that spanned many floors. Just about all but the tiniest (one or two person firms) have a receptionist of some sort for people who walk in off the street or to redirect people who show up for appointments. Most firms will have a new client talk to an attorney, before they schedule an appointment, to find out more about their legal matter. After they are a client, usually the assigned attorney’s legal assistant handles the scheduling – an attorney may have their own legal assistant or they may share, depending on their workload. Those legal assistants usually do the typing as well often from dictation … some firms use transcription services that transcribe the dictation, some via the Internet, and produce documents that are emailed to the user. You would be hard pressed to find a law firm that is not highly automated and many don’t fool with paper at all any more especially since all court filings, both state and federal, are done electronically.

      I don’t know if that helps or muddles things. For what it is worth, I have never heard of a staff person in a law firm, or any firm other than a graphic design firm, referred to as a “desktop publisher”.

    • Geordie
      January 30, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Diana, I haven’t worked in a law office in about 20 years, but maybe I can help from my experience both working as a lawyer in private practice and with lawyers most recently as an expert witness. A typical small firm of more than 2 or 3 attorneys – say anywhere from 10 to 50 lawyers – will have a receptionist and waiting area for clients, where the clients wait until their attorney is ready to see them in his or her office. Most attorneys work on their own computers – I imagine it’s still mostly desktop computers, not laptops, as the firm’s computers would normally be networked together. Every attorney in every firm I have worked with had her own secretary/legal assistant to do a variety of tasks, but in very large firms, there probably would still be a whole staff of legal assistants to do legal research and routine filings, I think. I am not sure these days whether there would be a mail delivery person – there was when I was practicing in a couple of large firms in the 80’s and 90’s, but I don’t really know how eletronic mail and filing of documents, which is prevalent now, has affected that.

      Hope that helps a bit.

      • JanF
        January 31, 2016 at 5:39 am

        I will add a few things to this. The secretary/legal assistant title varies by region, I think. “Secretary” conjures up all sorts of unwanted images and may not accurately reflect that the person filling that job has expertise in law offices, somewhat different, perhaps, than the secretary for a middle manager at an insurance company who may only do dictation and schedule meetings. However, some people prefer “Secretary” and I have seen firms use both.

        There are also paralegals who do more complicated legal work. In some states, you have to have training or education to call yourself a paralegal … in other states, you can just use the title. They can’t sign briefs or conduct depositions but they may manage 95% of a case to allow the attorney to concentrate on the things that only he or she can do.

        Beyond that, there are often law clerks who do legal research for the attorneys. They are usually law school students working part time (and probably very cheaply!) and generally work for the entire firm but could work for a specific attorney or maybe a practice group within a larger firm.

        Geordie, laptops can be networked! :) Most of the firms I am familiar with give laptops to the attorneys and assign desktops to the support staff. Laptops go to depositions, court appearances, trials, home – and then come back and get connected to the corporate network. Most communication is done via email with PDF documents of all sorts arriving in people’s Inboxes and then saved to network drives. The incoming mail very often is scanned at a scanning station (an extra task for the receptionist in many cases) and emailed to the recipient. Again, I don’t know how the larger firms handle this and I am going to guess there are still some old guys who won’t touch a computer (it’s wimmins work to be near a keyboard!) but there are not many of those left. Every attorney graduating from law school since at least 1990 has had to learn to type his or her own briefs and many, quite frankly, still want to do that. When I first started working with law firms, none of the partners had computers. Eventually many of them got connected for email and then reading the electronic documents but lots of them are still consumers of the content rather than creators.

        A lot has changed over the years! But they still bill in 6 minute increments. :)

        • January 31, 2016 at 10:27 am

          Thanks, Jan! Yes, when I asked Aunty Google about it, she said that definitely lawyers are expected to do their own “keyboarding,” even if they are MALE. And yes, sometimes what used to be called a “legal secretary” is now called a “legal assistant.”

          One thing that’s helpful to my soon-to-be-written story is that law firms often employ a “runner,” who can run documents from the law office to court and vice versa. I’m guessing that even in this high-tech age there is still a need for paper documents, either because some old poops won’t touch a computer or something is too secret to go over a network.

          Thanks, Geordie and Jan, for your help! I have a much better foundation for the three main characters now. :)

          • JanF
            January 31, 2016 at 10:43 am

            Absolutely on the runners! Many firms use messenger services but the larger ones have their own runners (some use their slave-wage law clerks). Some documents may still have to be delivered to the courts on paper or the firms may send them both electronically and on paper to make sure that they don’t miss any statutory deadlines.

      • January 31, 2016 at 10:23 am

        Thanks, Geordie!

  2. JanF
    January 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Here is a fun story: 102-year-old Iowan prepares to cast her 20th presidential vote

    Ruline Steininger’s political endorsement might not come with star power, but it exemplifies staying power.

    Steininger, 102, of Pleasant Hill, expects to vote this fall in her 20th presidential election. She hopes to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton, whom she considers one of the best candidates she’s ever seen.

    The retired teacher came to Grand View University to hear the former secretary of State speak Friday. She backed Clinton in the 2008 Democratic caucuses and plans to do so again Monday. […]

    Steininger, who lived much of her life in Dubuque, has voted for Democrats in every presidential election since Franklin D. Roosevelt walloped Republican Wendell Willkie in 1940. […]

    Anyone who hopes to follow Steininger’s path should heed her secret to longevity: “I just keep not dying.”

    Ha!! May you live long enough to cast a vote for the first woman president, Ruline, and see her sworn in.

    • January 30, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Great story, Jan!

  3. anotherdemocrat
    January 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Walked 7 miles. Finally got warm about 4 miles in. Didn’t go to breakfast tacos after, wasn’t feeling that good. Head doesn’t hurt any more, I’m just tired. Justifiably. I might get up enough energy to go grocery shopping & do my baked oatmeal today. Or not. definitely a nap. maybe a massage…..

  4. JanF
    January 30, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Yr Wonkette

    “Better call the House Select Committee on Benghazi back into session, because with just days to go before the Iowa caucuses, there’s finally some huge shocking news about Hillary Clinton and all the Top Secret emails on her private server, which as everyone knows is the one issue that Americans simply can’t seem to stop talking about, at least after they’ve exhausted talking about the weather, sportsball, television, movies, their children, cat videos they saw on YouTube, and whether this milk is giving their coffee that funny taste. The carton says it’s not expired yet, but it might be a little off. Here, smell it, what do you think? And then right after that, Hillary’s emails”

    snip

    “[The emails] were on her private server, and they’re now marked classified, so the only logical conclusion is that Hillary Clinton is a spy.”

    snip

    “So what’s so secret about these emails? Can’t tell you, it’s a secret. The AP reports a total of about 37 pages from “seven email chains” would be withheld because they were so secret, which would presumably include pages where the only new message is “Thought you should see this” or “Trey Gowdy’s hair is the real crime against humanity, lol.” ”

    http://wonkette.com/598345/hillary-clinton-definitely-going-to-email-jail-this-time-for-sure

Comments are closed.