Wednesday, January 18, 2006

There's a paralegal hobbling around the halls the past two days. She broke her ankle over the long weekend on a ski trip. Why are we paying paralegals enough to go on ski trips? And even worse, why are we providing our paralegals health insurance? She had a perfectly competent cast on her foot, crutches, pain medication, everything. I asked her how much it all cost her and she said it didn't cost her a cent. This is ridiculous.

Paralegals are fungible goods. One is just the same as another, and it doesn't matter if they stay for a week or a lifetime. They're all equally unable to do anything. When something is fungible, we shouldn't be providing incentives for them to stay. It's bad enough that no one's moved to fire her now that she's broken her ankle and is clearly unable to do the job. She can't run down the hall to make photocopies, she can't race to my office to deliver documents, and she can't carry as much as we usually require. So the fact she's keeping her job is bad enough. But even worse, we're paying for her injuries.

If she worked as a file clerk at the city dump, or whatever she'd be qualified to do, I presume she would not have health insurance, since health insurance is a privilege meant only for those adding value to society. So why should she have it here? We pay her enough to go skiing. She can afford health insurance. If she can't, that shouldn't be our problem. If she wants a job with health insurance, she should go get a law degree and then we'll talk. I don't mean her specifically. We won't talk. She's not coming back here as a lawyer even if she goes to law school and finishes first in her class. Anyone who's too brittle to keep themselves in one piece and do the job they've been hired to do shouldn't be working for me.

I saw her stealing water from the water fountain to swallow her pain pills. That's another reason we should never have gotten rid of the partners-only water fountains. I'll set up a garden hose for the associates and that should be good enough. The paralegals can put a sponge on the carpet and wring it out into a cup to drink the soaked-up runoff from the hose. It seems only fair to let them do that. I don't want them to get dehydrated.

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