As you may (or may not) know, I am not a lawyer, just a humble paralegal. I love my job, love the people I work with, and wouldn’t do anything else. However, even I get depressed by the lawyer mentality sometimes.
When I walk into a restaurant, I immediately make a mental note of the trip and fall hazards, the health code violations, the premise liability issues, etc. Ninety-nine percent of the time I catch myself doing it, shut my brain off, and eat my meal. Sometimes, no go. Only once or twice have I ever commented to the staff or manager about how they should fix the shredded rugs or mend an oddly hanging beam (mostly because I’m scared I’ll be the one to trip over the rug or have the beam fall on me).
A couple of weeks ago experienced the “aggressive attorney” that people always talk about for myself. At a CLE event, the lid of my coffee came off of my Styrofoam cup covering me in very hot coffee. Immediately two attorneys came to help me with napkins and gathering the remnants of the coffee cup. Barely were my thanks to them out of my mouth did one comment, “These lids are a real hazard! Just look at it.” The other attorney chimed in, “Are you burned? Are you ok? You might want to keep that lid and cup to show the manager how defective they are.” (To their credit, it was a poorly designed cup and lid.)
“Thanks guys. Much appreciated, but I’m fine. My dress can be dry-cleaned, and I can handle washing myself up. No harm, no foul.”
Of course, they weren’t looking to sign me up as a case or anything (had it been one), but for a minute I considered how droll and over-reactive we get sometimes.
We live in a litigious world, and most of our livelihoods depend on it. But sometimes, we need to calm down and let life happen. Car accidents occur, doctors don’t catch diseases fast enough (they are human), and lids come off cups. Barring egregious behavior, why not let accidents be accidents, and move on? Let’s not suck the fun out of life.