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What are the top 3 traits or skills every litigation paralegal must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your litigation paralegal expertise?

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M C Thompson in Buffalo, New York

77 months ago

First - I'm in Los Angeles, not New York, and I have about a dozen years experience, and another 7 as a Sr. Litigation Claims Examiner before that. Perhaps my experiences have been different, I've worked in various fields of law and found it extremely challenging - and that's what I thrive on.

I've worked with some truly gifted and excellent attorneys, have learned a lot from them and others I've done contract work for, and wish I had the time to study the law myself... but I also have run into some really terrible personalities of attorneys who are litigation experts, who misuse their staffs as personal backboards for all their fustrations and who do their best to make paralegals out here, feel like glorified secretarys...

On the other hand, I have also seen that litigation attorneys are under TREMENDOUS PRESSURES on a daily basis to handle caseloads with ongoing issues that need to be addressed and multitudes of time consuming little red tape details - most of which are extremely redundant, just to survive. Judges are very unforgiving on errors, clients are sometimes a real pain to deal with--particularly those who are never satisfied and think that their payments entitle them to belittle and abuse the attorney and their office staff's. Worse are the attorney's wives - some of them, who insist on interfering in office politics, and getting rid of competent staff because they are prettier than the wife.

I will say this however, I was making $48,000 in 1993 as a Sr. Lit Claims Examiner and Hearing Rep, and I gave it up to become a Paralegal - I worked my way back up to that amount on hard work and past experience. In Los Angeles, there are 24,000 attorneys - all do litigation. I have worked my ass off to get where I am, so let me suggest --if you can't handle the fire, get out of the forest.

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M C Thomjpson in LOS ANGELES in Buffalo, New York

77 months ago

Paralegal pay is good here too, even starting paralegals (Jr Paralegals) get $30-35,000 a year, but Cost of Living here is high, gasoline prices are outrageous (presently $3.99 a gallon), and the commutes to work from decent living area's could kill you!

Re: your comment on attorneys getting help to be fair, considerate, etc..... good luck! Like I said, I have been very fortunate to have worked with some excellent attorneys (defense and plaintiff) and have great first name friendships with several still, and they have told me that for every good honest attorney who works well with his/her staff, there are 3 others who "could use some help". Perhaps if some of us went into the Law Schools and taught young attorneys what to expect from office staff's --and what a great staff can do to your bottom line; then they'd be more appreciative when they get out and start practicing.

Anyway, if you come out to So. Calif - bring your sunglasses and some super glue - the summers are fierce and you'll need to glue yourself to the ground to avoid the earthquakes...*G*

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

M C Thompson in Buffalo, New York said:

" Worse are the attorney's wives - some of them, who insist on interfering in office politics, and getting rid of competent staff because they are prettier than the wife."

Hello M C Thompson in Buffalo, NY
Oh yes, I have experienced the attorney wife. And it was solely due to the fact that I was pretty and thin. To my chagrin, she made a totally out of line put-down comment to me- and to my surprise, her attorney husband politely called her on it.

"I have worked my ass off to get where I am, so let me suggest --if you can't handle the fire, get out of the forest.

Or find a better forest if you can. Just because the attorney is under pressure, it gives no rights to abuse the staff. We also are earning our paychecks to pay our rent, etc. and we are under job pressure ourselves.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:
Never experienced interfering spouses, and you are absolutely correct about errors. But many attorneys treat their legal assistants as adversaries. They forget their legal assistants are on their side. They cannot or will not turn it off.

Continued, below....

DLP - Excellent comment. Many attorneys do treat us as their adversaries, when in fact, we are legally trained to be their right-hand person, not scetretary, knowledgeable of legal concepts, theory and procedures to competently do the leg work for them.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Don't hold your breath. I think so many attorneys are born unappreciative, demanding and tantrum-prone, but excellent idea anyway

DLP - I concur.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Continued from above...

M C Thompson: "[L]et me suggest --if you can't handle the fire, get out of the forest."

That suggestion should really apply to attorneys who can't handle the fire. Perhaps a better suggestion would be for these individuals to enlist help and cooperation in putting out the fire by being fair, civil and supporting to nonlawyer assistants.

DLP - Excellent comment. I concur.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Z28 in Swampscott, Massachusetts said: At my last job, the senior paralegal had 3 traits:
1. a dirty mouth
2. a miserable attitude
3. a drug rehab past

It is amazing the "scum" law firms hire. There is such a range in the quality of so-called Paralegals, some with B.A. Degrees and ABA Certificates, and some with only a Paralegal Certificate. [I have both]. Paralegals as described above are not my competition. I have way advanced of such personality - and thus do not want to work for firms with such low quality of so-called Paralegals. To think that the above-described Paralegal is my equal, just due to title, is a joke. I have respect for those Paralegals that know their stuff, but could not work with the above -described Paralegal if such person was my senior. If neccessary, I would tolerate and ignore, but not respect.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Z28 in Boston, Massachusetts: "Seems to me attorneys are paying the price by hiring inexperienced, equally miserable HEATHENS to work alongside them. I was just looking at a paralegal position, $26,000/yr."

Your "heathens" comment is inappropriate. So is the starting salary. $26K for entry paralegals? No wonder these folks are miserable. Here, in this dusty old cowtown, far, far away from sophisticated Boston, entry paralegal pay is $28K-$34K.

DPL - Thats about right. Depending on the size of the firm, In Philadelphia I was offered 33K on my very first job offer in a lrge firm I also interviewed in a smaller firm and the salary being offered was low to mid 20k for first paralegal job.

5 years later, when I was out of work and in Ft. Lauderdale, after making 40k in Miami, Fl- I was called in for an interview for a Bank in the Trust Division for $26K. Sure does depend on the situation and company.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Haven't seen you in a while, Cindy! How's it going?

Hey DLP - Going well - The months of April and May are devoted to exercise, walking, some running, yoga and pilatis classes. Soon I will have my bicycle to ride about on. Then it will be summer and the beach, and more exercise and hopefully getting up to NYC, Philadelphia - and then the Beach. And of course my string of doctor appointments.
Sure beats working. How is it going with you.?

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: kmm in Wilmington, Delaware: "Many attorneys do treat us as their adversaries, when in fact, we are legally trained to be their right-hand person, not secretary, knowledgeable of legal concepts, theory and procedures to competently do the leg work for them."

Of course, what I'm saying is attorneys address us with the same 'tude as if we were insurance adjusters or OC, or regard us as adversaries because we can't do something for them immediately. They think we are giving them "resistance," when the truth is we're swamped or overwhelmed, and simply cannot hand them their pacifier at the moment.

Well said! I hate the lawyer 'tude towards me. "resistance" exactly - and we are not - I sure am hello not going to purposely be "resistant" towards a work assignment. It is the 'tude. I would have needed to order "pacifers" by the truck load for one job.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: SOS - and it beats working in **law** any day.

Along with exercise, I try to ride my bike 20 miles a day, weather and schedule permitting. Helps to exorcise those "SOB"-adversary demons, if you catch my drift. You recall my schedule. I don't think I was in the best of health when I was cast out.

I cannot wait to get my bike here - isn't fun. and oh yes, the demon memories of work - I know the drift. And I recall your schedule. I was being slaughtered on 9-5. And you were working 10 hour days. I sure hope you were able to sock away in your 401k at work. That will keep growing.

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Legal Angel

77 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every litigation paralegal must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your litigation paralegal expertise?


Yes, I can. You must be detail-oriented, well-organized and willing to be flexible. As someone with over 20 years of legal experience, I can tell you that there will always be a crisis you just have to handle. Most likely, you will be involved in a project and have to drop it, temporarily, and move onto "putting out a fire." And, yes, there are attorneys out there who are incredibly arrogant and selfish. I've certainly worked for them and could write a book! However, there are a lot of nice ones, as well. So, don't get jaded. It's what YOU make out of it. Stay open. Learn. Good luck.

Your friendly legal angel

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Marlene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

77 months ago

I have a 41/2 interveiw with a bio-company. I have reserched the company.
I know that there are 3 people interveiwing for the position, myself included. What questions should I ask the paralegals. I have to sit with them for 45 minutes

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Marlene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: You can ask them to describe a typical day, how long they've been working there, why they applied to the company, their profile of a successful paralegal at that company, the most useful skill they offer to the company, the task at which they spend the most time, the most interesting task, least interesting task, etc. If you have the gumption, ask about overtime, weekends, attorneys, etc.

Don't forget, they'll be asking most of the questions. You won't spend the forty-five minutes interviewing them. Good luck with your interview.

Thanks DLP. I just wanted to fill those awkward moments

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Never had a 401K but it's dealt with in other ways. Thanks for mentioning it.

DLP- IMO, I think is CRAPola, that your attorney did not have a saving plan with an employer matching contribution, such as 401k or tradional IRA. To think that you slaved for 8 years under him, and he gave you no matching savings plan. They are cheap, plain and simple, IMO. As we both know, it is the match that makes the difference. As you said, there are other options you or anyone can do, assuming one is making more than paycheck to paycheck.

I think it is CRAPola that several places I worked at did not allow participation in the company savings plan for a year, known as the 1 year waiting period. I believe they CAN offer it, say after 90 days, when they decide they want to keep you. It's rape and double rape. That is how I view it.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Legal Angel: "[T]here are attorneys out there who are incredibly arrogant and selfish. I've certainly worked for them and could write a book! However, there are a lot of nice ones, as well...."

Where??

"It's what YOU make out of it...."

Bullsh!t. You can have the most positive, willing and cooperative attitude in the world, and you can bend over backwards (or forward with your pants down, as the case may be and usually is) for these people and they don't give a damn. It's all about me, me, me with litigation attorneys (and many other attorneys as well). Have a problem or a question? Expect to have your head lopped off. All they care about is you putting the work on their desks. Litigators are the some of most non-supportive supervisors you'll ever meet.

Keep learning and be flexible? Sure - but expect you and your knowledge to be exploited.

Along with these comments, I stand by my comments, above, about these individuals, and incorporate them herein by reference.

DPL- RIght on. I double concur.

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Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Two more things for you, Marlene. I think interviewing for a company is different than interviewing for a law firm. Ask about the company's work. You could ask the paralegals about the present and future of the industry, the company's future plans, how they think the company will position in the industry, how the legal department's role has changed, etc.

Ask them what knowledge they brought to the company, how they contributed that knowledge and the knowledge they've collected since joining the company, etc. Of course, after they answer you would say you regard every day as a new opportunity to learn. You want to say you've had few working days where you haven't learned something new or learned a better way to handle a familiar task, etc., and for that reason you're excited about the possibility of coming on board with that company to contribute and learn.

As much as I disliked litigation and WC, which was primarily because of stress, workload, hours - and attorney 'tude - in all fairness I recall very few days when I didn't learn something new, added to my knowledge or honed my proficiency. A paralegal I knew once said it's not called "practicing" law for nothing.

One final suggestion, which you have probably thought of. Along with the hiring managers be sure to send each of the paralegals individualized thank-you letters.

Once again, good luck with your interview.

Thanks DLP. I have been a litigation paralegal for 20 years plus. Lawd knows I have been somewhat spared as I have not been employed by lawfirms on a longtime basis. My first experience was with a sole practioner, it lasted 6 months. a get your feet wet position. There has never been a day on the job where I haven't learned something new. There have been times where I have worked two jobs. I did product litigation in the day and scanned documents at night, so on and so forth. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: DLP- IMO, I think is CRAPola, that your attorney did not have a saving plan with an employer matching contribution, such as 401k or tradional IRA. To think that you slaved for 8 years under him, and he gave you no matching savings plan. They are cheap, plain and simple, IMO. As we both know, it is the match that makes the difference. As you said, there are other options you or anyone can do, assuming one is making more than paycheck to paycheck.

I think it is CRAPola that several places I worked at did not allow participation in the company savings plan for a year, known as the 1 year waiting period. I believe they CAN offer it, say after 90 days, when they decide they want to keep you. It's rape and double rape. That is how I view it.

JUMP IN ANYONE:
FURTHER comment. CURIOUS - How many Paralegals on this site and secretaries jump in are being offered MATCHING 401k (or other) plans at work, AND, how long did it take til you were eligible to contribute?

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Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

77 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: JUMP IN ANYONE:
FURTHER comment. CURIOUS - How many Paralegals on this site and secretaries jump in are being offered MATCHING 401k (or other) plans at work, AND, how long did it take til you were eligible to contribute?

Calm dowm Kmm. It is the company's policy, you can't change that. If it is a sole practioner and he's not rainmaker, this is what happens. When you find yourself in these situations it is best to start your own savings plan. Oh yes, you can leve some of that crap in the store. I guess what troubles me the most is medical. COBRA, this is expensive. I GET SICK JUST LOOKING the payments. DLP ya did what had to do so I'm not mad at you. Newbies take note, it is all about benes, the longer you stay in litigation the more you will need them. Look deep before you leap

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Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: kmm in Wilmington, Delaware: "DLP- IMO, I think is CRAPola, that your attorney did not have a saving plan with an employer matching contribution, such as 401k or tradional IRA. To think that you slaved for 8 years under him, and he gave you no matching savings plan."

It was nearly seven years. Actually, the firm offered a 401K in which it enabled participants to join a mutual fund(s). I opted not to participate. But, you're right, I don't recall any matching savings plan.

The firm's benefits were fairly standard, and not bad for a small firm. Company-paid health insurance for the employee and option to purchase for dependents. 1 1/2 days of leave time earned per month for employees with three or more years of service. No separate sick days, however. I had seventeen days of accrued leave time when he cast me out.

It is hard out there for a player. His loss. Thanks for the help, I think I'll ask the GC some of those questions. I've researched a couple of problems the company is having maybe I'll throw them in. DLP, displaced dislodged, just know that Dis know it was never about you.

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Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania: "I guess what troubles me the most is medical. COBRA, this is expensive. I GET SICK JUST LOOKING the payments."

Yeah. You don't know the half of it.

"Newbies take note, it is all about benes, the longer you stay in litigation the more you will need them. Look deep before you leap."

Absolutely. Truer words were never spoken. I emerged from my last job exhausted, pissed off, nervous and not in good health. I had put off surgery I had needed for a year. I had the time and took it to have the surgery.

While I would generally discourage anyone from going into law, I absolutely discourage anyone from going into litigation. Once again, job requirements are titanium nerves, carborundum-proof skin and a cast-iron constitution. Magician training, mind-reading abilities, especially, and advanced psychology training are desirable.

If you want to experience the beauty of being a litigation paralegal without the commitment, try temping. The entire spectrum will unfold right before your eyes. If you can swim there, you can swim anywhere. The trick, keep your eyes open. The pitfall, some of these projects are slated for 6 months and can last two or more years. I've seen attorneys work for 10 years as a consultant.(Big word for temp) They just move from project to project. If you want to suceed here, protect your rep. Your rep is what makes them call you back. Now in the end ya might be eating dogfood when ya retire, but at least it will be of higher quality. I don't get an SSI statement at the end of the year, just the label from Alpo. Look it is like anything else in life. If your job is tressing you, make a move. Yeah easier said than done. That is the beauty of temping, you learn to save money. Save your money and live below your means. For all you newbies look into contracts, IP, and Estates and trust. If you are in litigation try corporations.

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Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania

77 months ago

Doctor Phil says own it. I say don't take on anyone else's sinking ship. Sometimes we are not victims, but volunteers. I say get the monkey off your back. Baby Girl, bend don't break.
No job is worth it. You don't need to be a paralegal, ya want to be one. Respect is where I draw line, cross it and we dance.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: DLP said - "The firm's benefits were fairly standard, and not bad for a small firm. Company-paid health insurance for the employee and option to purchase for dependents. 1 1/2 days of leave time earned per month for employees with three or more years of service. No separate sick days, however. I had seventeen days of accrued leave time when he cast me out.

DLP- I agree. You cannot get everything. THe company paid for health benefits great.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania said: Calm dowm Kmm. It is the company's policy, you can't change that. If it is a sole practioner and he's not rainmaker, this is what happens. When you find yourself in these situations it is best to start your own savings plan. Oh yes, you can leve some of that crap in the store. I guess what troubles me the most is medical. COBRA, this is expensive. I GET SICK JUST LOOKING the payments. DLP ya did what had to do so I'm not mad at you. Newbies take note, it is all about benes, the longer you stay in litigation the more you will need them. Look deep before you leap

Hello Marlene - Firstly, I am not "uncalm." Simply recalling the past. Example, FOr whatever reason, When I joined a new firm in December, I was signed up for their Tradition IRA plan with a 3% match. Later, I interviewed with another 2 sman outfit, lawyers, and they told me there was a 2 year wait for the same plan. When I questioned it by example, they said it was the law on these types of plans. I did not say anymore. I knew they just did not want to contribute.

Paying COBRA - must be in between jobs or temping. I agree- "the benies" are very important. Unfortuately, somtimes you get an offer and there is not match or maybe there is a 1-year wait - and the job turns out to be a nightmare, so you get out and lose time to get "benies - the match" again. Sometimes - it is simply necessary to bring in money as to no money. Do what you got to do to get a paycheck.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:
While I would generally discourage anyone from going into law, I absolutely discourage anyone from going into litigation. Once again, job requirements are titanium nerves, carborundum-proof skin and a cast-iron constitution. Magician training, mind-reading abilities, especially, and advanced psychology training [QUOTE]

DLP_ You could not have put it any better. Do I ever concur.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: I like "dislodged." In fairness, every party in a relationship is responsible for its success or failure. That said, I stand by my remarks, above, and appreciate yours, Marlene.

Once again, good luck with your interview. Keep us posted.

DLP- Never thought about your comment on the "relationship" part when I was working. I do agree with it. for better or worse.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: DLP- Never thought about your comment on the "relationship" part when I was working. I do agree with it. for better or worse.

I think with all the OTHER necessary ingredients one must have, ie., mind reading, advanced psycology training and more - it certainly can make it impossible to work for some attorneys. Especially since it is the attorney's way or the highway - no room for negotiation to be able to cope with the stress. Not so good.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania said: If you want to experience the beauty of being a litigation paralegal without the commitment, try temping. The entire spectrum will unfold right before your eyes. If you can swim there, you can swim anywhere. The trick, keep your eyes open. The pitfall, some of these projects are slated for 6 months and can last two or more years. I've seen attorneys work for 10 years as a consultant.(Big word for temp) They just move from project to project. If you want to suceed here, protect your rep. Your rep is what makes them call you back. .... For all you newbies look into contracts, IP, and Estates and trust. If you are in litigation try corporations.

Hello Marlene - You are in Landsdown, PA. I take a stabbing guess you work in Philadelphia alot? If you do, how about that city wage tax. I temped in Philadelphia for 1 year and maybe 2 months. The temp pay was $`16/17 an hour. That is paycheck to paycheck money -and I had resonable rent and no debt what so ever. SO- no money to put in IRA. And of course no health benefits - luckily, I was never in need for them. I got really anxious about my life then - going paycheck to paycheck. And working with no benefits. Sure, I interviewd for permanent when I could - My temp jobs during that year were less problomatice overall- then 3 months working for the "crazy" attorney. No benies was no good and of course, there are the dry spells when there is no work- more money loss. THe future of this got to me- being single with no husband. Great if you have husband with very good job. Why no SSI statment - Do you not have your taxes taken out? Drawback is no unemployment benefits. Again, we all do what we have to do.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Legal Angel: "[T]here are attorneys out there who are incredibly arrogant and selfish. I've certainly worked for them and could write a book! However, there are a lot of nice ones, as well...."

Where??

"It's what YOU make out of it...."

Bullsh!t. You can have the most positive, willing and cooperative attitude in the world, and you can bend over backwards (or forward with your pants down, as the case may be and usually is) for these people and they don't give a damn. It's all about me, me, me with litigation attorneys (and many other attorneys as well). Have a problem or a question? Expect to have your head lopped off. All they care about is you putting the work on their desks. Litigators are the some of most non-supportive supervisors you'll ever meet.

Keep learning and be flexible? Sure - but expect you and your knowledge to be exploited.

Along with these comments, I stand by my comments, above, about these individuals, and incorporate them herein by reference.

DLP- Excellent comment. I think this offers an understanding as to why, when you are working for a contentious attorney, the relationship is and can be impossible. And sometimes there is nothing one can do - I moved sideways, upside down - you know the drill - the end result was that he was going to kill my health due to his stress demands. Oh well. Nothing I could do at that particular time in my life

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: Hello Marlene - You are in Landsdown, PA. I take a stabbing guess you work in Philadelphia alot? If you do, how about that city wage tax. I temped in Philadelphia for 1 year and maybe 2 months. The temp pay was $`16/17 an hour. That is paycheck to paycheck money -and I had resonable rent and no debt what so ever. SO- no money to put in IRA. And of course no health benefits - luckily, I was never in need for them. I got really anxious about my life then - going paycheck to paycheck. And working with no benefits. Sure, I interviewd for permanent when I could - My temp jobs during that year were less problomatice overall- then 3 months working for the "crazy" attorney. No benies was no good and of course, there are the dry spells when there is no work- more money loss. THe future of this got to me- being single with no husband. Great if you have husband with very good job. Why no SSI statment - Do you not have your taxes taken out? Drawback is no unemployment benefits. Again, we all do what we have to do.

correction: "than" 3 months working for...[the others are typos]

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania said: Doctor Phil says own it. I say don't take on anyone else's sinking ship. Sometimes we are not victims, but volunteers. I say get the monkey off your back. Baby Girl, bend don't break.
No job is worth it. You don't need to be a paralegal, ya want to be one. Respect is where I draw line, cross it and we dance.

Marlene - I am unsure you the above- comment is directed to. If it is me - I do not appreciate the working of it.

DLP- some how the above-comment reminds me of the gal in Delaware and the "SECRET". The part where she never allows an attorney to disrespect her. Remember that?

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: Marlene - I am unsure you the above- comment is directed to. If it is me - I do not appreciate the working of it.

DLP- some how the above-comment reminds me of the gal in Delaware and the "SECRET". The part where she never allows an attorney to disrespect her. Remember that?

Big CORRECTION: "I AM UNSURE WHOM THE ABOVE-COMMENT IS DIRECTED TO. IF IT IS ME - I DO NOT APPRECIATE THE WORDING OF IT.

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M Thompson LOS ANGELES in Buffalo, New York

77 months ago

I agree that Dr. Phil has been recently discredited, but frankly if you'd ever listened to him, you would have figured that he discredited himself years ago and many times since then. An MD or PhD after your name doesn't prove anything, it's what you do with it that counts.

His questionable "guests" and his self serving egotistical attitude towards everyone on his shows has been a kick in the pants to real psychologists and the profession for years. It's only because some jaded network exec's who have nothing to do and a lack of brains, and the poorest section of American Society that watch his crap, that he's still on the air at all. I've avoided buying anything from any of his show's sponsor's as my only way of protesting show's like his.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: kmm in Wilmington, Delaware: "[S]omehow the above-comment reminds me of the gal in Delaware and the "SECRET." The part where she never allows an attorney to disrespect her. Remember that?"

Wasn't Dr. Phil discredited recently? I think "The Secret" has largely been discredited, but it has its followers and sycophants. Fine if they enjoyed delusions. I deal with hard, cold, reality."

Hi DLP- Was he. Cool. I am with you on "The Secret" . Of course we know that being positive is the way to go - But - it does not move mountains. I too live in hard cold reality , hard cold reality entered my life uninvited, and escape it via the movies, riding my bicycle, deaming, etc. REMEMBER the gal in Wilmington, DE - who is a Legal Secretary and works for the corporation and NEVER takes any disrespect from any attorney and runs the show on her terms and talked briefly on she and hubby's vaca home....??? And brought up THE Secret - asked me if a read the book...?

DLP said - "..., as much as one may hate a job one may have to on to it. There may be no choice. Most people cannot walk off a job. Changing jobs is hard if few opportunities exist and, even then, it's risky. Once again, the devil you know may be better than the devil you don't know.

Right on- MOST PEOPLE CANNOT walk off a job - except Dee Dee - now you remember?

It is bad enough that we get put off the job. I know I certainly did.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

77 months ago

M Thompson LOS ANGELES in Buffalo, New York said: I agree that Dr. Phil has been recently discredited, but frankly if you'd ever listened to him, you would have figured that he discredited himself years ago and many times since then. An MD or PhD after your name doesn't prove anything, it's what you do with it that counts.

Hello M. Thompson - Yeah, and what Doc Phil did was make himself millions - whether we like him or not- he is certainly happy. I cannot stand the guy.

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ABC in Parsippany, New Jersey

77 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Z28 in Boston, Massachusetts: "Seems to me attorneys are paying the price by hiring inexperienced, equally miserable HEATHENS to work alongside them. I was just looking at a paralegal position, $26,000/yr."

Your "heathens" comment is inappropriate. So is the starting salary. $26K for entry paralegals? No wonder these folks are miserable. Here, in this dusty old cowtown, far, far away from sophisticated Boston, entry paralegal pay is $28K-$34K.

Folks, I am new to this forum. I am litigation paralegal. I make over $60K plus bonus. I recently decided to seek new employment for a more challenging position in which I can continue to grow my career. Can anyone recommend a insurance services corporation and/or law firm in Northern New Jersey?

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MThompson LOS ANGELES -not in Palmdale, California

77 months ago

If you are in New Jersey - the largest Insurance Company (and the best in my opinion in your state) is Continental Insurance - which has several divisions. One of these divisions is called Continental Loss Adjusting Services. This is a Worker's Compensation Insurance Division that hires Claims Adjusters primarily, but also has In House and Outside Counsel. I recommend you contact their House Counsel (or Claims Division Vice President) and ask if your skills can be of use to their company. Hopefully your resume (which you will attach to your inquiry letter) will prove that you have what they are looking for in some division. It may not be Claims, it might be Liability, or even Trademark Litigation protection, or other areas...you won't know until you try. Claims Litigation by the way is very lucrative and well paying for Adjusters...for Paralegals, even more so. I started out in Insurance Adjusting of Litigated claims myself.

By they way, don't let writing to a Vice President of Claims of the Senior Attorney of House Counsel intimidate you...you can be sure that few will do it, but remember, they eat breakfast every morning just like you do...with a fork or spoon and no matter how fancy that fork or spoon is ...it still fulfills the same function in the same way.

Good luck!

M. Thompson

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Career Changer in Minneapolis, Minnesota

76 months ago

I recently quite a 15 year career in law enforcement because of a poorly managed department and family constraints. I was a supervisor for the past 7 years. I was an investigator for 6 years and that was my favorite position. I was thinking I would enjoy the paralegal profession as an alternative career. Can anyone tell me if my experience would be a good fit and if so, what area? I want to work in the private sector. I would appreciate any feed back. I am starting school in February and I am second guessing myself.

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M. Thompson LOS ANGELES in Temecula, California

76 months ago

In California Private Investigators must be licensed, and many now are getting their Notary Certificate's as well. This is due to a recent Supreme Court decision that private investigator statements which are to be used in Court as evidence must be taken either under oath or by a Court recognized person with Legal Stature. Private Investigators did not meet this standard as it was determined by the Courts that a PI--since he/she was being paid by one side or the other - would possibly slant his findings towards the side that paid him. A Law Firm Investigator would have to take statements from witnesses also under Oath (such as in a Deposition), and thus would have to have the power to administer such an Oath. Needless to say, this has been causing havoc on the PI scene lately.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

76 months ago

MThompson LOS ANGELES -not in Palmdale, California said: If you are in New Jersey - the largest Insurance Company (and the best in my opinion in your state) is Continental Insurance - which has several divisions. One of these divisions is called Continental Loss Adjusting Services. This is a Worker's Compensation Insurance Division that hires Claims Adjusters primarily, but also has In House and Outside Counsel. I recommend you contact their House Counsel (or Claims Division Vice President) and ask if your skills can be of use to their company. Hopefully your resume (which you will attach to your inquiry letter) will prove that you have what they are looking for in some division. It may not be Claims, it might be Liability, or even Trademark Litigation protection, or other areas...you won't know until you try. Claims Litigation by the way is very lucrative and well paying for Adjusters...for Paralegals, even more so. I started out in Insurance Adjusting of Litigated claims myself.

By they way, don't let writing to a Vice President of Claims of the Senior Attorney of House Counsel intimidate you...you can be sure that few will do it, but remember, they eat breakfast every morning just like you do...with a fork or spoon and no matter how fancy that fork or spoon is ...it still fulfills the same function in the same way.

Good luck!

M. Thompson

That is excellent information - INsuarance companies do pay - and they are not being hit by the economy.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: I like "dislodged." In fairness, every party in a relationship is responsible for its success or failure.

Reply to 2 months ago-

DLP - Excellent comment.

In all my years of working as a Paralegal - Although I had difficult bosses, at times, I only had one boss that I wold say - the "relationship" was messed up, at best.

I include my years of temping , as I ran into many very "Fair" attorneys.
At least working for them for the duration of the assignment.

ONe, even very nice, pleasant attorney. I was temping and he wanted me to become the permanent Paralegal. MAnaging Partner had other ideas for me - like drinks after work.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

"......I emerged from my last job exhausted, pissed off, nervous and not in good health. I had put off surgery I had needed for a year. I had the time and took it to have the surgery.

DLP- due to the hours you put in on that job - you took a royal beating.

I bet he has revolving Paralegals since you. - no one else will work those hours, not being paid overtime.

I know that you did what you had to do at the time . Indeed.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Your experience would be fine as a paralegal in a criminal law firm or in the district attorney's office. You are used to dealing with these people. Otherwise, I would not recommend paralegal or any nonlawyer position to anyone.

Supposedly, another hot area where INvestigation Job experience is needed is White-collar crime. Insurance companies have to investigate fraud, for example.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: Reply to 2 months ago-

DLP - Excellent comment.

In all my years of working as a Paralegal - Although I had difficult bosses, at times, I only had one boss that I wold say - the "relationship" was messed up, at best.

I include my years of temping , as I ran into many very "Fair" attorneys.
At least working for them for the duration of the assignment.

ONe, even very nice, pleasant attorney. I was temping and he wanted me to become the permanent Paralegal. MAnaging Partner had other ideas for me - like drinks after work.

I just needed on good landing.

When I was on a temp assignment in Ft. Lauderdale- I worked for a realy decent attorney. He reported back to the Agency - that I knew what I was doing and he was pleased. that was after day 1, when the Agency does a check up.

THE Bummer was- it was so cold in that office, the next day I came in with light weight wool pants, stockings, cashmere sweater and blazer. By noon , I was so cold - my body was shaking. The permanent staff and space heaters.

Really, my experiences added up - are unbelievable.

ONe more point - after I was out of the corporation with the incompetent GC, removed from his position, and the "relationship" that was messed up, at best.

I did land with another corporation that I had no problems with GC or the other attorneys - or staff in other departments. He was fair and it easy a very comfortable "relationship" from the getgo.

Of course - there ws a catch 6 mo into it - company unable to make payroll.

Again - I say - how can all of this happen???

Because it can. my only explanation. Even with the 2 bosses who tried to set my hair on fire - there was an easy communication - when it was allowed. It was not uncomfortable or awkward - as ws with the incompetent GC.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Marlene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania said: If you want to experience the beauty of being a litigation paralegal without the commitment, try temping. The entire spectrum will unfold right before your eyes. If you can swim there, you can swim anywhere.

"If you can swim there, you can swim anywhere."

I thought that to be true. ONe has to be able to adjust to new environments and people constantly, and different work, Truly, my easist time, in terms of work, as I did it for just over a year, my temp experiences overall were good. NOT so, for me, in my permanent job. I think they tend not to hassle the "temps" the way they can hassle the permanents, if they are one of the toxc bosses, on a regualry basis.

If I was married - I would have been a "career temp" ,after I got fed up with the toxic bosses.- as an alternative. of course, soomeone had to be a lucrative bread winner.

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Marlene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

I don't advocate temping, but if you need the cash go for it. I have found that you gain a wealth of experience. I am only speaking of corporations. Some companies will pay for additional computer training, the coporation not the agency, although some agencies offer software training. Here is the rub, you and an attorney can reveiw the same documents but you won't get attorney wages. Some people get on aproject and want to drag it out forever. I worked with a contract attorney on the same case. I wanted to choke him. He set up an index and didn't bother to QC the bates numbers or item numbers. Please tell me who skips cells in excell when you are doing an index. The beauty of the temp world is that you are gone long before they discover someone else's incompetence. System my shoe, the man did not know what he was doing no wonder why his business failed.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:
Bull****. You can have the most positive, willing and cooperative attitude in the world, and you can bend over backwards (or forward with your pants down, as the case may be and usually is) for these people and they don't give a damn. It's all about me, me, me with litigation attorneys (and many other attorneys as well). Have a problem or a question? Expect to have your head lopped off. All they care about is you putting the work on their desks. Litigators are the some of most non-supportive supervisors you'll ever meet.".

DLP- That comment is on the money.

At my almost last Paralegal job, I knew that work hands down and my toxic boss knew it. I "should" have been there for as long as I needed to be - BUT - I was driven out of that office - by his relentness non stop, every week- demands for more work. I can handle pressure - he was beyond. Had I not left - my health was being jeapordizedy - due to him.

You know the drill DLP.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

I emerged from my last job exhausted, pissed off, nervous and not in good health. I had put off surgery I had needed for a year. I had the time and took it to have the surgery.".

DLP- Because this comment is so valuable for people seeking to enter the field - which is no longer the hot market it was -

BEWARE - WHo the heck wants to stay on a job when signs of a "nervous breakdown" are already in play. Stay, and wait for the breakdown, and then apply for disability. Really - not my idea of a plan.

I sure as heck did not think about "going to the doctor and getting a note" to be put on short term disability. The stress would return and/or they would then "create" a reason to terminate you - such as, we need someone who can keep up with the fast-paced demands of the job.

No boss - you need to "knoock it off"

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Marlene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: I don't advocate temping .......The beauty ... is that you are gone long before they discover someone else's incompetence. System my shoe, the man did not know what he was doing no wonder why his business failed.

Marlene - good comment. BECAUSE, if a higher up is incompetent, low man on the pole will take the fall.

I now of a Paralegal that happend to - in a big firm. And she was out the door witih severence, for a higher ups mistake,, after being there for 3 years.

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