Parlegal

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Comments (15)

JoAnn in Spartanburg, South Carolina

80 months ago

I have a Paralegal Certificate, what good is it if no one will hire you without experience? Do anyone know an office that is willing to take a chance on a 1 year Paralegal graduate that's seeking employment?

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Princess in Birmingham, Alabama

80 months ago

As a former paralegal and recruiter, I would recommend calling the small firms or sole practitioners. To get experience you might have to be willing to start at a lower salary. I would recommend that whatever specality the atty who eventually hires you does, get a book on that specality and read and study up so that you are cognizant fast. That's why I had to do, a lot of self study because you get very little on the job legal training anymore.

In addition, I don't know your typing speed but in the legal field I would stay it has to be at least 50+ if not more. Most want legal sec to be in the 70s range.

Finally, contact a local paralegal group such as the Natonal association for legal professionals or legal assistants or even legal secretaries. It might be easier to get hired as a legal secretary. In my city they are moving toward "admin assts who are willing to learn legal termanology" because the legal sec pool is shrinking.

Good luck!!!

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jennifer in San Diego, California

80 months ago

I was thinking along the guide lines of becoming a perleagal myself... right nw. i am a medical assitant, and i do all kinds of adminstraive work. which means i got to stay on top of things and move real fast. I mainly work in the back office doing vital signs and all that, but at times i am very much needed in the front, as well as on other floors do to the fact of my computer termilogy, and my very strong advance in computers...

The reason for me leaning towards this position, is so that i can learn some what the law side of things and i believe this fits and where i want to make my nexts move... speaking of.. what about LAWYERS???

how long does it take to become one...
can someone get back to me?

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Princess Sparkle in Birmingham, Alabama

80 months ago

Jennifer I don't know why you'd want to move out of the medical field into legal. It seems to me there are more opportunities in the medical BY FAR than legal.

Being a legal/sec paralegal is very strict with regard to grammer and legal documents which have to be picture perfect. It is attention to detail.

You might want to check out the national association for legal assistants organization which has some helpful topics.

As forlawyers, I'll leave that to 0thers to reply.

If you are extra good with computers I'd recommend going into the IT field.

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jennifer in San Diego, California

80 months ago

You know something, you may be right, i'll give that a some more thought... i was just thinking... along the lines of becoming one, because i like computers, and i would like to learn the law side of things... i believe i can do anything that is ask of me as i have done in this medical assitant... IT is good too... i do fixs computers too. (when some has a problem with a computer or it is not working right) i fixs it, and it usually it the mother board that burns out so,

well thanks

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Therese in Burke, Virginia

78 months ago

I'm going to college for a parlegal certificate. I enjoy doing research. I live near Washington D.C. I also have a four year degree. What strategic moves can I do while I'm still a student. I'm thinking of going into the government using my certificate and degrees. Is there any government agencies that have entry level positions or student intern positions for someone in my situation?

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pat in Charlotte, North Carolina

78 months ago

I agree with displaced legal in Denver. Unless you are willing to be abused daily, I would stay away from legal. The pay is great but its considered combat pay. Lawyers are the most unhappy people I have ever worked for. They are indeed rude, crude and many are diabolical. I never seen a group of people that delight in torturing others. They actually get off on inflicting insults and criticisms to their staff. Power and ego ... imagine working for "Hitler" - that's what you get when you worked for most partners - they are NASTY!

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Therese in Burke, Virginia

78 months ago

What to you mean by combat pay? Are their other companies besides law firms in which having a paralegal degree could be advantageous? I use to work for doctors. Doctors also can be demanding and critical; however, they have lots of responsibility such as saving people's lives. Most work is catered toward working for them. Working for doctors can be tough but this is all part of being in the medical field.

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Brenda Love in Sanford, North Carolina

77 months ago

Having a Paraglegal degree is more than just working at an Attorney's office. You can look into banking, finance companies, Manufacture home sales, any business that deals with property. I have my degree for 13 years and I have never worked for an attorney. I worked in manufactured home sales and I am currently looking into finance companies. Having the degree proves to companies that you are not a dummy. When I go for an interview I stress my degree but I stress more on the ethics I learned while in college. I am so thankful for my experience in college. I make more money not working for attorneys and that is great. I am not against attorneys, I have two attorneys in the family.

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dh in Northern CA, California

77 months ago

pat in Charlotte, North Carolina said: I agree with displaced legal in Denver. Unless you are willing to be abused daily, I would stay away from legal. The pay is great but its considered combat pay. Lawyers are the most unhappy people I have ever worked for. They are indeed rude, crude and many are diabolical. I never seen a group of people that delight in torturing others. They actually get off on inflicting insults and criticisms to their staff. Power and ego ... imagine working for "Hitler" - that's what you get when you worked for most partners - they are NASTY!

I agree wholeheartedly with all of the above except for "The pay is great." I never would have become a homeowner as a legal secretary and probably never retire if I had to pay rent the rest of my life. The average starting salary of a college graduate with a degree that's related to biz, computers, engineering or communications is not much less than a secretary with 5-7 years' exp. I left my last job in Southern Ca in June, '06 at $55k after turning a down a job at $59K the previous year. That provided a mediocre lifestyle as long as I wasn't a spendthrift. Now in Northern CA where cost of living is cheaper and therefore salaries a little less, accounting graduates up here are starting at roughtly $49, engineers $50-55K. Give these kids 8-10 years, and they'll probably be making 6 figures. Legal secretary income has no potential - just my opinion.

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Susan in Englewood, Colorado

76 months ago

I was in the same boat. I had my paralegal certificate and no job. Paralegals don't receive the hands-on training like those in the medical field and it hurts us when it's time to knock on doors. I heard one attorney say she was alarmed that she had to dismiss so many new paralegals because all we know how to do is read a law book and take a test. It is VERY frustrating and wish I had gone in the medical field

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Therese in Burke, Virginia

76 months ago

I'm involved in an association for paralegals located in my area. I'm also trying to take the computer courses specifically for paralegals. I know how hard getting your first job is, I experience this in the medical field. I am a medical coder. I got tired of coding which is sitting in a room and entering codes (diagnosis and procedure) for a doctor's office. This is what I did all day long and every day. If you like routine this is the job that makes okay money in the 40's. Most become very bored because it's the same thing. However, there are classes which a person attends to take the AAPC exam. This test is five hours long and tests the trainee coder on all aspects of coding. Once you learn the codes there is nothing much to learn unless a person wants to go the next step which is teaching medical coding. There is usually a lot of travel involved - going from state to state to teach. A teacher has more experience than most he/she has several coding certificates, has been in the field a very long time, and has been well connected with for instance AAPC the American Academy of Professional Coder or AHIMA. The first certificate is the training certificate and then after the two years one can obtain the AAPC certificate. The official one that leads to a coding job. If one wants to go to AHIMA, one will have to research what AHIMA requires. I'm not as familiar with AHIMA. Yes, I agree with you. The medical field needs talented people like you. If you want to switch fields, I wish you the best. You may have to go back and obtain the necessary schooling to change to the medical field. Yes, the medical field also needs nurses and techs and secretaries and doctors to be efficent. Patient focus care is also part of the medical field. This means essentially doing more with less. If you choose to be a nurse, you'll have a lot of patients to take care of in a short amount of time. I sugest getting involved in a paralegal association. Good luck! Therese

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Therese in Burke, Virginia

76 months ago

This is true in the medical field as well. I remember my first job as a medical secretary. I didn't know much and had to figure things out for myself. I even got written up for not doing a good job because my job required multiskilling and I was too new. I didn't know medical terminology and had to learn quickly. There wasn't much training either. I majored in Psychology perhaps this was my fault. Yes, the medical field can be very frustrating like the paralegal field. You learn 'on the fly' sort of speak and you have to learn very fast. You have to be organized and in the hospital as well in the doctor's office know the patients names. You also have to deal with anger and frustration.
I'm having a tough time finding a computer class in the paralegal field. I'm looking for Lexis Nexis class. In the court house I use for paralegal research. My college lacks in the practical things also. However, one thing I have learned in the medical field that I'm transfering to the paralegal field is to never take "no" for an answer. I'm determined to find classes e.g. computer classes like the one I found in coding. Another thing I learned is to be persistent no matter how I feel or think. My life consist of looking up stuff in law books and writing papers. Of course, I don't feel prepared. I am calling colleges looking for practical courses e.g.computer. I always keep in mind that doctors and nurses need medical malpractice insurance even though they have lots of practical training and experience.
This keeps me very humble. Frustrating? Of course. Both fields are very frustrating. The grass isn't greener in the medical field then in the paralegal field. It's just a different kind of grass. So the question becomes what job fits you the best? How much time and effort will you put in finding this job? Only you can answer the question. My hope is everyone finds the career field that is best for them. Life is too short. Therese

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Therese in Burke, Virginia

76 months ago

By the way, I do agree that paralegals need practical training. I wish this was part of my training too. Given the comments on the message board and all the good advise, I'm putting these things on the top priority list and looking diligently for classes and experiences that make this job easier for me. Lots of the comments deal with wanting to be in the medical field. I just wanted to use my experience in the medical field to illustrate that this field has its own stressors and problems.

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bodll in Canton, Ohio

71 months ago

Princess in Birmingham, Alabama said: As a former paralegal and recruiter, I would recommend calling the small firms or sole practitioners. To get experience you might have to be willing to start at a lower salary. I would recommend that whatever specality the atty who eventually hires you does, get a book on that specality and read and study up so that you are cognizant fast. That's why I had to do, a lot of self study because you get very little on the job legal training anymore.

In addition, I don't know your typing speed but in the legal field I would stay it has to be at least 50+ if not more. Most want legal sec to be in the 70s range.

Finally, contact a local paralegal group such as the Natonal association for legal professionals or legal assistants or even legal secretaries. It might be easier to get hired as a legal secretary. In my city they are moving toward "admin assts who are willing to learn legal termanology" because the legal sec pool is shrinking.

Good luck!!!


After I got out of college I had to go to work through temp services to get experience It helped me. It helps you get your foot in the door. good luck

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