Sacramento Paralegals...Where Are You?

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Comments (29)

Donald_ in New Jersey

54 months ago

Drop the 2 year experience requirement and you will get all the paralegals you need overnight.

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PEGCorp in Sacramento, California

54 months ago

Wish we could...unfortunately we have had bad luck with those that have less experience and we don't want to waste anyone's valuable time.

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Donald_ in New Jersey

54 months ago

If experience is important to you, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate the salary and your marketing.

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

54 months ago

What was the pay $8-10?? I didn't see the ad before it was deleted.

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kmm in Wilmington, DE in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

53 months ago

Donald_ in New Jersey said: Drop the 2 year experience requirement and you will get all the paralegals you need overnight.

Yes, they will get paralegals they have to train. and they do not want to train.
They will live with the "learning curve" part..par for the course..BUt if they can get the experienced, they will..

It's mess. what can I say..

Don't disagree. not one bit.

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dh in Northern CA, California

53 months ago

occasionally, my craigslist will have jobs for the sacramento area. I've seen positions for secretaries or paralegals advertised at $15/hour. That might be ok to start out, but I'm flabbergasted when I see "bachelor's degree preferred" at the end of the announcement. I mean, c'mon. What educated person is gonna take a dead-end job for $15/hr. That doesn't make sense to me. If the person had the ambition to go to college for four years, then you'd think they have more ambition than to do clerical work.

And with the economy the way it is, if an educated person does take a job like that, they are probably seeing that job as a stepping stone to get them by until the land a real career.

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dh in Northern CA, California

53 months ago

Paralegal in Dallas, Texas said: What was the pay $8-10?? I didn't see the ad before it was deleted.

omigod $8 - $10??? I think In and Out pays something like $12 or $13????

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PEGCorp in Sacramento, California

53 months ago

I wasn't aware that a Paralegal opportunity requiring 2 years of experience was considered a dead-end job. Am I missing something?

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dh in Northern CA, California

53 months ago

PEGCorp in Sacramento, California said: I wasn't aware that a Paralegal opportunity requiring 2 years of experience was considered a dead-end job. Am I missing something?

I agree with Displaced's comment. Paralgls and legal secs are always at the bottom of the totem pole. There's no ladder of success to climb. These jobs require all of the hard work and dedication that is required to get promoted thru the ranks in a major corporation, but there's no long-run payoff at the end because there's no upward mobility. I'd be willing to work my hiney off, stay late and come in early, for a job that had promotion potential. I wasn't willing to do that as a legal sec - it wasn't worth it.

As a legal sec (& paralgl) it's the attys who have a lot to show for your hard work, not you. They milk you for everything they can get and give back as little as possible, barely enough to get you to come back the next day. You exist to help the atty get rich. Attys live in huge homes, drive luxury cars, travel to exotic places, and many own rentals or vacations homes. They can't accomplish that without a secretary doing the gruntwork, but he won't pay her enough to buy her own condo (assuming she/he is single). As a single person, someone in this field will spend the rest of his/her life as a renter.

All of these things aside, an overwhelming majority of attys are condescending, unapproachable, impatient, and impossible to please. They want their work done right away, no questions asked. They give very little instructions on what they want and then become angry when you ask questions. They expect you to take care of their personal things - things the wife should be doing such as shop online for an I-pod for a son's bday or fill out financial paperwork for a child's private school.

Don't think that I am an isolated case or that I experienced this at one job. These things happened at every firm at which I worked; they are commonplace in the industry.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

53 months ago

My first paralegal job was for a personal injury attorney. I must have been stupid. I worked for him almost six years. He demanded I work until the work was done. I even came in on Saturdays. I did not get paid beyond my $350 a week (20 years ago).

We had discussions about it. He even made a comment, "I pay your bills." My response was, "Excuse me? How do you pay my bills?" I work for you. I provide a service you pay for." I pay my bills.

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lauren, in Orange County in Los Angeles, California

53 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Damn straight. That individual had nerve to say what he said.

Displaced Legal - Just curious to know are you a paralegal now? What is it that you do now?

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lauren, in Orange County in Los Angeles, California

53 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Why do you ask?

Because you have a lot of negative things to say but unfortunately it's true everytime I read one of your posts I am thinking "damn that's true" :) I have been a paralegal for 8 years and I am just about to make a career change myself. So I was just curious to know if you are still a paralegal or if you are doing something different.

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lauren, in Orange County in Los Angeles, California

53 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: I am a paralegal and always will be. I worked in law for more than eleven years in multiple specialties. At the moment I am not employed as a paralegal, nor do I choose to be employed as one. Other things keep me busy.

Your comment:

Funny thing about such comments, isn't it?

Good luck with your career change. What are you considering, Lauren?

I too am not working right now but because I got laid off since June of this year and it's sad to see that most positions that I have interviewed for is because someone quit and the position has had a high turnover, so it doesn't say much about the law firm itself. I was working for a law firm that would bombard me with so much work that everynight that I would get home I felt sooo drained. Not a good work environment, so when the lay off came I couldn't help to be smiling while others, that were also laid off, were crying ...sad but true!!!
So I know it's a good time to re-think my career...but I am not 100% sure of what I want to do....

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dh in Northern CA, California

53 months ago

lauren, in Orange County in Los Angeles, California said: I too am not working right now but because I got laid off since June of this year and it's sad to see that most positions that I have interviewed for is because someone quit and the position has had a high turnover, so it doesn't say much about the law firm itself. I was working for a law firm that would bombard me with so much work that everynight that I would get home I felt sooo drained. Not a good work environment, so when the lay off came I couldn't help to be smiling while others, that were also laid off, were crying ...sad but true!!!
So I know it's a good time to re-think my career...but I am not 100% sure of what I want to do....

Lauren - I WISH YOU GOOD LUCK AND HOPE THE BEST FOR YOU! I'm a former legal sec (earned my paralegal cert from UCLA in 2000), and I started out as a word processor in LA, on Wilshire near downtown. I moved to OC, where I worked as a legal sec for 4 years and hated every second of it. My last firm was a transaction firm in Costa Mesa with 12 attys. We had one real jerk there, and the rest of the guys were pretty decent. Three years ago, I moved back to my hometown in Northern CA so that I could return to school full time and finish my BA because I was desperate to get out of law. I'm 42, and I graduate next month with my degree in Economics.

I hope you don't mind, but I want to make a suggestion. Go to a community college, tell them your dilemma, and they will help you research other career options that will fit your personality and interests. They do personality testing and a whole bunch of assessments. Nearly all community colleges have a 1 or 1.5 unit class that helps you figure out this stuff. They are usually under the "personal development" section of the catalogue. At Irvine Valley CC, the class was called "Career Explorations." Different colleges will give it different names. I wish you luck. I hope you can successfully change careers.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

53 months ago

Lauren, I have been reading your stuff. Have you thought about working in a hospital, in the legal department?

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lauren, in Orange County in Los Angeles, California

53 months ago

Thanks DH! As a matter of fact I live close by Irvine Valley College I will check that class that you mentioned. Thanks for the suggestions.

By the way what type of profession can you apply to with a degree in economics? What are you planning on getting into?

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lauren, in Orange County in Los Angeles, California

53 months ago

No Mary- I have never thought of that but I would assume that they would only hire people with medical backgrounds right??

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Donald_ in New Jersey

53 months ago

People here seem to complain about long work days and workplace stress in the paralegal profession, but aren't thsese present in nearly every profession? My mother is a nurse and when she worked in hospitals, she had 12 hour days of non stop work. Accountants work long days, ESPECIALLY during the tax season. Even teachers work long days since lots of them have more work to do even after school is over, like attend meetings, grade assignments, etc. The days of the 9-5 job are gone.

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Donald_ in New Jersey

53 months ago

"But unlike paralegals, accountants can actually practice their professions. As you know, Don, paralegals are not lawyers and cannot practice law. Accountants can start their own practices; even so-called self-employed paralegals still work for lawyers. As with lawyers, the sky's the limit for accountant income. Paralegals can earn decent pay, if they're lucky, but that pay is capped."

That's true, but only if the accountant is a CPA, which most are not. Also, starting your own business is very hard to do since most new businesses fail. I plan to become an accountant and even if I become a CPA, I am not starting my own practice. I'd rather work for a company like Price Waterhouse Coopers and not have to worry about hunting for new clients.

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Donald_ in New Jersey

53 months ago

I see what your saying. However, I do plan on sitting for the CPA exam. I never said I wouldn't. I just don't want to open up my own practice. Also, once I get my degree, someone will have to hire me even thoguh I'm not a CPA since NY requires 2 years of accounting experience to become one.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

53 months ago

Don, have you thought about court reporting?

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Donald_ in New Jersey

53 months ago

No Mary, I absolutely hate typing and am bad and slow at it.

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

53 months ago

Court reporting has its own problems. The schools have a 92% drop out rate for one thing.

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dh in Northern CA, California

53 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Not necessarily your opening specifically, but paralegal jobs, generally, are dead ends. Paralegals may have various degrees of autonomy, but, ultimately, they are there to support attorneys. Paralegals can earn decent pay, but they are beholden to attorneys for their livelihoods. Even so-called independent paralegals, who are in business for themselves, still must hustle attorneys for business. In the meantime, even newly minted, green, attorneys can open their own firms and earn unlimited incomes.

DLP - I met a woman last weekend here in town who has her own paralegal business with a partner. She doesn't work in an ofc with attys but does research and filings for them and I don't know what else. I'm not sure exactly how it works. I was having coffee with a group of women and mentioned that I was back in school for a career change. I didn't know everyone there. Liz asked me what I did before, and I told her. That's when she told me about her biz. She, too, is sick of it and wants to do something different. She is tired of dealing with the attys yet she's not stuck in an office with them all day.

If I recall correctly, she's been doing it several years (she's 40) and has no other real experience. Same story for almost everyone - older, no other experience, and desperate to get out. Only with her, she didn't actually seem desperate. She had the attitude, "Yeah, I'm sick of it and want out but..." with no real plan to get out. Maybe it's because she's NOT in an office all day with the attys that she doesn't have that desperation to drive her to do anything to get out, like I had. This sounds sort of like rambling. I think you know what I mean.

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Moving to Sacramento in Portland, Oregon

27 months ago

I am a paralegal with 2 years+ experience looking for a job at 48,000k a year.

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Christine, in Orange County in Los Angeles, California

27 months ago

Good luck I have 8 yrs experience and to many employers want to pay under 40/a year

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

26 months ago

It would depend on your location, Portland. I think it would be possible but not likely to land such a job. I think you're aiming a bit too high.

People will take any job at any salary right now. Employers are demanding a lot and sifting candidates like mad. If you're going to hold out for that salary with that amount of experience, you're going to have a tough time surviving long in the paralegal world.

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AngeloVila in Roseville, California

20 months ago

You cannot find a job anymore unless you have experience. I graduated college in 2006, and have yet to get a job in my field because everyone required experience. Let me ask this, how on earth are you going to get hired if NOBODY is willing to give you ANY experience.

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Unemployed Paralegal in Massachusetts

20 months ago

AngeloVila in Roseville, California said: You cannot find a job anymore unless you have experience.
Even with experience it's hard to find a paralegal job. I have more than ten years of experience in a couple of specialties. I've applied to more than 150 legal employers and have gotten nowhere.

Please don't think that experience is a panacea for obtaining legal employment. If anything, too much experience is a deal breaker.

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