Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: People ask me sometimes….when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court? And my answer is: when there are nine.
How long have you been at your job? Do you feel as if you know all there is to know? I used to feel that way, years ago. Young and smart. I knew my sh*t and no one could tell me otherwise.
As the years go on, I might sometimes be forgetful. Nowadays, of course, it’s easier to look something up, like local court rules or procedures. Today, I filed a document in bankruptcy court. It’s a federal court and you would expect that each court’s requirements are the same but, alas, that’s not the case. As legal assistants, we need to be familiar with all the rules of all the courts…or at least know where to find the information.
I put on my “think before you hit the ‘send’ button” hat. Slowly and methodically, I finalized the documents, put them in court-approved format, and got on the court’s website to start filing the four documents. At a procedural crossroads, I did have to ask my mentor for some advice. (Note: I didn’t want to do that! I wanted to prove that I could do it all myself!)
I filed the documents with no trouble. Or so it seemed. I received a “notice of deficiency” from the court clerk and was asked to call the help desk. I fixed the problem. Yahoo. Then another deficiency. And so on. And so on. Thankfully, the court clerk was very helpful and understanding. I waited and waited for another deficiency notice, and it never came.
Then guess what? I was given another set of similar documents to file later in the afternoon. I’ve learned my lesson, right? Me and the clerk, on a first name basis, didn’t have to speak again today and I’m grateful. It seemed like an interminable amount of time waiting to see if a document would be rejected this afternoon.
So what’s the lesson here? Take your time. Don’t assume you know everything. Look up the rules. Accept your mistakes and move on. Sigh.