I was asked by a newbie paralegal last week what a pleading was exactly. I was a little taken back by this question and at first, I wasn’t sure how best to answer her. After thinking about the question for a while—it finally hit me if she wants to be a paralegal she will need to love pleadings, as much as I do because after all they are the heart and soul of a paralegal’s job.
The most common definition of a pleading is they are the documents that we draft during a lawsuit. Some people would define a pleading as a written statement that is filed with the courts.
In truth paralegals are the one person that has their hands on the pleadings the most. We are the ones who draft them from our attorney notes, and intake sheets. We file them in the file and copy them for the opposing counsel. If we had to sit here and examine all the times a paralegal has their hands on a pleading from the developing of the pleading to the final filing of the pleading we would be here for a whole year.
Therefore, I am just going to be brief. Paralegals should not only know what a pleading is they should love them because the pleadings are the petitions, the complaints and answers we draft on a daily basis. Paralegals really should pay homage to the pleadings because without them what would paralegals research and write? Yes the crux of pleadings is a lot of research which is one of the reasons I LOVE Pleadings!!!.
Typically, a pleading is the complaint and any responses filed with the courts. Depending on the jurisdiction of the lawsuit most of the time discovery is not consider a pleading. Motions of either party may be included in the local rules as being defined as a pleading.
If you ever have a question about what is considered a pleading in your jurisdiction, I would suggest that you refer to your local court rules or ask the attorney you are working under.
I leave you with this:
Pleadings should be the heart and soul of every paralegals job. They are and will always be the driving force behind a lawsuit. You cannot have a lawsuit without them that is why this founder of Best Virtual Paralegal LLC loves them almost as much as she loves St. Louis Blues Hockey, St. Louis Cardinal Baseball, and of course Coffee.
Pleadings are the reason this Paralegal gets up in the morning.