A friend, who is also a legal assistant, and I were talking about how we both never really noticed how much we missed in legal shows before we became a legal assistant. As in there were many different references, terminologies, and procedures that went right over our heads. Which helps me confirm that I am in fact learning new information even though sometimes I feel like I’m not soaking it all up.
However, I’ve noticed there are also things that appear easy in legal shows which I have found, at least in my experience, to be no simple feat. The one I want to focus on today is contacting the opposing council.
In a case, there are usually two side, whichever side you aren’t on is considered opposing council.
You might be wonder, why would you need to communicate with opposing council since you’ll see them in court…where here is the thing…. You often have to communicate with opposing council in order to SCHEDULE with the court.
I work as a legal assistant in family law, so we also need to communicate with opposing council to schedule mediation (something that has to be done in every divorce case before they can go to trail). We also have to communicate with opposing council to discuss child support, alimony, and talk about proposed settlements…. Just to name a few.
More often than not, our opposing councils will not return our emails or phone calls. I am sure sometimes I’ll emails aren’t even read – I’m starting to think we should include clauses in the email like, ‘if you respond to this email within an hour, we will send you a box of cookies.’ But even if I added that into the email, they still probably won’t answer the email.
The lack of communication from the opposing council makes cases drag on much longer than they need to drag on due to their lack of communication.
I feel like in legal shows, they make it look so easy to meet with opposing council and offer proposed settlement agreements, while in reality it’s something that is extremely hard to do. I wish it was as easy as it was in the show.
Welp, see you next week.