RealJobs: Angela Donkor

I want to address the question I raised last time about whether working in corporate America means selling your soul. It is a question that haunted me during my senior year at BC. I had volunteered in prisons, homeless shelters and orphanages around the globe and I was worried about the person I would become if I took a job at PW. Then, I realized that deciding to attend BC was the same as deciding to work at PW. BC is one of the most expensive schools in the country and yet, we are committed and encouraged to help those less fortunate. Likewise, Paul, Weiss is one of the world’s leading law firms and yet, we do more pro bono work and help the community than anyone else.

I reject as false the choice between service and excellence. The idea that you either have to work at a place like Amnesty International or Paul, Weiss because one is good and the other is bad. I think what BC and Paul, Weiss demonstrate is that you can get an excellent education and still be committed to human rights just as you can work in the best law firm in the world and still care about the world. I believe the world is safer when we have people who care about the world in corporate America than when we don’t.

Today was a very exciting day at work! When I first started working at Paul, Weiss, I was assigned to a case that was headed to trial. When a case is heading to trial, things are crazy all the time. You worked many long hours and unlike what I said in my last blog, cases that are going to trial, everything becomes urgent. This morning, I find out that the case has been settled. Contrary to what is shown on TV, most legal cases do not make it into the courtroom. Many times through the discovery process (the process of collecting evidence for a case), the parties realize that they do not need to go to trial and that they can use an independent judge to settle the case. I am really happy that the case has settled because that means I can start going out with my friends, making more new friends and preparing for law school.

Because my case was settled, I did not have anything to do today. When this happens, I email the manager and tell him that my case was settled and that I can help out another team. Lucky for me, another team needed help. It turned out that the team that needed help has members that I have worked with before. The leading lawyer in charge of that case was one of the lawyers working on my other case that got settled. We were so happy to find out that we are working together again.

One of the first things that happen when there is a new case is for the case team to meet and discusses the case. Every case has different rules about confidentiality, billing and preferences on binders etc. For us, every case is like a new class with different requirements. Our job is to learn what the case needs so we can help our clients.

Today, the lawyer asked me to make 40 folders for the case team. In the folders, I had to put the initial documents that have been submitted for the case. Once I made the folders, I was asked to scan some documents and put them in a folder for the judge in charge of the case. This might sounds simple but every time something is going to a judge, it is so important. I have to check every page of the documents and make sure it is correct. I have to name the folder right and send it another department who will make sure that we delete any confidential client information. I will be helping this team out until I get assigned a new case.

Next blog, I will talk about preparing for law school and what Paul, Weiss does to help you as a paralegal.

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