So, I am one lucky fat old lady in that I get to work from home.

I am not so lucky in that I work with attorneys.

These are people who charge their clients hundreds and hundreds of dollars an hour.

There are highly educated and trained people who are paid to know the law.

I don’t get paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars an hour.

I am neither highly educated or highly trained.

Here’s the deal.

I have a side gig, doing legal word processing for a law firm.

They contact me day before yesterday.

They are going to have a huge rush, a big brief that needs a Table of Contents and a Table of Authorities.  How long will it take me?

I tell them it is near impossible to guess, without seeing what I’m working with, but IF all the cites are correct (so I don’t have to spend lots of time fixing them), it should take between 1 and 1 ½ hours.

I am PROMISED, oh yes, the cites will be perfect.

I am also told the document must be filed no later than 4 p.m.

I also tell them that when they send the work to call me in case I don’t see their e-mail.

Next day.  3 p.m. comes and goes.  I send an e-mail – WTF, y’all?

Brief still not done.  Now it will be done by 5 p.m.

5 p.m. comes and goes.

I get an e-mail telling me, now it has to go out the door by 7:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

I get a partial document.  No introduction, no conclusion.

I don’t care about the conclusion, it’s on the end and won’t affect the table of contents pages or how cites are entered, BUT no intro is a potentially HUGE problem because attorneys’ invariably cite law in their intros; and in doing a table of authorities with Word, you need to mark the “long cite” (i.e., the full cite, which is the first time the cite appears in the document where it first appears in the document).

I call the attorney, and explain this to him.

He says, “Oh, no problem.  I’m not citing any law in the intro … uh, wait a minute …”

Yeah, I thought so.

Meanwhile, I take the brief put it on pleading paper, format all the headings.

Then I look at the “perfect” cites.


It’s a train wreck.

If you are filing a document in the California court system, you use the California Style Manual for the rules of how to format.  And unless you are doing some really odd citations, it is pretty straightforward.  And the manual is available for free, online.

These cites are not only mostly wrongly formatted, but they aren’t even consistently formatted wrong.

I can understand you thinking a wrong format is correct (kind of), but if you format it one way in one place, and another way somewhere else, you HAVE to know one of them is wrong.

By then the attorney (who is still working on the intro; and has not started the conclusion), is saying, we’ll send it out with just the table of contents and do the table of authorities later.

Easy-peasy, only I can’t do that until I have the frigging intro.

So I spend the next 45 minutes simply cleaning up citations.

7:15.  The intro finally arrives (still no conclusion, but as I said, that doesn’t affect the table of contents).

Put it in, fix those cites.  Generate the table of contents, and get it back to them at 7:20.  crabby

And then they want to know why I’m so fucking crabby all the time.

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