Advice for a paralegal student?

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (1 to 50 of 408)
Page:   1  2  3  4  Next »   Last »

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Here's a little more food for thought. Two words: Age discrimination.

You sound like an experienced paralegal and age does not have to be a deterrent because you can always look at becoming an independent or freelance paralegal. Your success depends on what you believe you can do. It does not depend on what others say you can do. Let go of those elitist labels; who cares if you have an ABA credential or a regionally accredited credential It all about your belief in yourself and your ability to sell you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (11) / No (11) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

The virtual paralegal is becoming a hot market and the entire U.S. is open territory for a work at home Paralegal.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (11) / No (11) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Here is an interesting link from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations:

www.paralegals.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=378

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

I work in New York you work in Colorado, so you can not compare the job market in New York to the job market in Colorado. Furthermore, I do not have any paid sponsors on my Blog so I am not guilty of self-promotion. Additionally, you have no vision and you seem a little bitter. Maybe that is the reason you are a displaced paralegal? My goal is to motivate and inspire those in the paralegal profession not to tare them down. Have you thought about some of the non law firm opportunities that are available for paralegals?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (10) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: More misleading baloney.

Lawyers understandably want their paralegals in the office with them. Work-at-home is a privilege which may be conferred upon paralegals who've established themselves in firms. My last firm set up work-at-home ability for a paralegal because she demanded it, but she still spent her time primarily in the office. Otherwise, I have encountered only one paralegal who worked at home because she just had a baby.


Have you thought about becoming a legal document preparer a lot of Independent paralegals are offering legal document assistance to the public in many States check to see if it is permitted in yours. Another profession that paralegals are making money in is the Notary Signing Agent business check to see if you are permitted by law to offer that service in your home State.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (8) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Phoenix in West Babylon, New York: "Have you thought about becoming a legal document preparer. [A] lot of [i]ndependent paralegals are offering legal document assistance to the public in many [s]tates. [C]heck to see if it is permitted in yours...."

Not permitted in Colorado.

"Another profession that paralegals are making money in is the Notary Signing Agent business. [C]heck to see if you are permitted by law to offer that service in your home [s]tate."

I am a notary. One doesn't have to be a paralegal to be a notary.


I never said they did. However, a paralegal background impresses the mortgage companies that use notaries as signing agents.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: One other point about notaries. Notaries in Colorado can charge $5 max per notarization. One will sure get rich on that fee, especially with $3.77 per gallon regular.

You don't know what a signing agent is?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

I found more than one typo in your comments but I will not point them out in this informal forum.

:)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

There are no restrictions in Colorado about being a signing agent and Notary Signing agents can make from $35-$175 dollars a signing:

www.nationalnotary.org/sections/index.cfm?text=nsAgentFAQ

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Sorry. The fee cannot exceed $5 per notarization. Sec. 12-55-121, Colo. Rev. Stat., Colorado Notary Handbook at p. 24.

If you go to the link you will understand how it works. The mortgage company or bank will pay you for your time and travel. You will get a better description of how it work by clicking on the link I posted.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (6) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: "The stress and hostility one encounters in so many law offices are not worth it. "

"The only differences are you pay your own employment taxes and health insurance."

(corrected)

You are cool! :)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Phoenix in West Babylon, New York: "[A] paralegal background impresses the mortgage companies that use notaries as signing agents."

Nonetheless, one need not be a paralegal to engage in this work. I have tried to find work with title companies, etc. because I learned such companies like paralegals. No luck.

Something else you failed to consider regarding this recommendation. Housing sales are down. Good luck earning enough to make a living.

It is not hard to find work in New York the big firms pay the big bucks to those with a BA/BS it does not have to be in paralegal studies the firms will train. The smaller firms are desperate and they take what they can get.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Phoenix in West Babylon, New York: "If you go to the link you will understand how it works. The mortgage company or bank will pay you for your time and travel. You will get a better description of how it work by clicking on the link I posted."

That said, the original poster asked for advice about becoming a **paralegal,** not a "notary signing agent." I stand by my advice to the original poster and all subsequent comments regarding becoming or being a paralegal.


Are you really that...

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Phoenix in West Babylon, New York: "It is not hard to find work in New York. [T]he big firms pay the big bucks to those with a BA/BS. [I]t does not have to be in paralegal studies. [T]he firms will train. The smaller firms are desperate and they take what they can get."

Not around here. There are a great many well-qualified people competing for very few jobs. Smaller firms have their pick. Firms don't want to train even experienced paralegals on their systems.

Once more, I'll give you the point that NYC-North Jersey would have more openings simply because that area is large.


I think it is like the Walmart situation. In some states people are running to get a job at Walmart because it is the only game in town. In New York, Walmart is the last place you would apply for a job.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No (11) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Phoenix in West Babylon, New York: "Are you really that..."

What?

I will never tell.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (9) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Phoenix in West Babylon, New York: "I do not have any **paid sponsors** on my Blog so I am not guilty of self-promotion....."

You don't?? So what do you call all those Amazon.com ads on your blog? What do you call the ad for Blackstone Paralegal Studies? Or Brides in Style?

I stand by my comment in that regard, above.

It is nice to see that you actually looked at my Blog. lol :)

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (8) Reply - Report abuse

Phoenix in West Babylon, New York

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: ....and your paid sponsors LOL! ;->

Believe me the way that it works, I do not get paid anything unless a sale closes. I think I made 2 cents with a Google add once. Don't believe the hype.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (9) Reply - Report abuse

Paralegal student in Knoxville, Tennessee

76 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Here's a little more food for thought. Two words: Age discrimination.

Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts. Anyone else?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Mike in Toms River, New Jersey

75 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Nonetheless, Phoenix, **paid** sponsors. I stand by my comment.

Good day. It may be improper of me to reach out to you today, however, here it goes. I have recently grad. from a 4 year university (19 /12 yrs. old) & do not know as of yet what exactly I desire to do with my life. My thinking is to gain some full time work experience, well, thats a plan for now. I have an upcoming Paralegal interview & wanted to know whether you might be in the position to share any interviewing tips? I mean, what type of questions potentially should I be alerted to? Can you share?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Mike in Toms River, New Jersey

75 months ago

Paralegal student in Knoxville, Tennessee said: Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts. Anyone else?

Sorry, I'm 19 1/2 years old.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Para in Springfield, New Jersey

75 months ago

They will probably ask what skills you have that will be good for law and how you think your course of study or major may have prepared you for a career in law. They may also ask why you are interested in law. They will probably ask about writing and communication skills, computer skills, abilty to multitask, and organization skills. They realize you have no experience and will focus on your raw skills to try to get an idea of what kinf of aptitude you will have when it comes to learning the job. If you've read over some of the paralegal forums on here, you've seen that first paralegal jobs can be hard to get and usually pay little. You're at a good point right now because you are still young enough to get out if you decide law is not for you or to go on to law school is you decide you really love it (as a side note, I woudl reccomend law school ONLY if you really love law and are confident you can work hard for the three years and come out relatively high in your class at a relatively good law school). Also, since you are young and probably have few financial responsibilities you can afford to take a low paying job simply for the opportunity to learn. I know you asked about interviews and not about all that other stuff, but I thought I'd throw in some other advice. :) Oh, I would also not count on a paralegal salary getting you very far in NJ as you get older and want to have a house, family, ect.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Thor Thorson Jr in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

75 months ago

What about those that have been looking for a paralegal position since May 2007 and haven't been able to get a paralegal position all because they don't have any office experience?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Mike in Toms River, New Jersey

75 months ago

Para in Springfield, New Jersey said: They will probably ask what skills you have that will be good for law and how you think your course of study or major may have prepared you for a career in law. They may also ask why you are interested in law. They will probably ask about writing and communication skills, computer skills, abilty to multitask, and organization skills. They realize you have no experience and will focus on your raw skills to try to get an idea of what kinf of aptitude you will have when it comes to learning the job. If you've read over some of the paralegal forums on here, you've seen that first paralegal jobs can be hard to get and usually pay little. You're at a good point right now because you are still young enough to get out if you decide law is not for you or to go on to law school is you decide you really love it (as a side note, I woudl reccomend law school ONLY if you really love law and are confident you can work hard for the three years and come out relatively high in your class at a relatively good law school). Also, since you are young and probably have few financial responsibilities you can afford to take a low paying job simply for the opportunity to learn. I know you asked about interviews and not about all that other stuff, but I thought I'd throw in some other advice. :) Oh, I would also not count on a paralegal salary getting you very far in NJ as you get older and want to have a house, family, ect.

Hey Springfield NJ, Thank you for sharing great information. Outstanding & do Appreciate all of it.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Mike in Toms River, New Jersey

75 months ago

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

You should prepare a few questions for them. You can ask them the qualities a paralegal should have to be successful at the firm. Ask about weekly, monthly and yearly billing requirements. Ask about schedule. Ask why the position is open. How many candidates they're interviewing for the position, further steps after your interview. I would not ask about benefits until a second or third interview. DO NOT bring up salary.

Finally, a good book to read about interviewing is "Landing The Job You Want: How to Have the Best Job Interview of Your Life" by Byham and Pickett. The book discusses the SAR behavioral job interviewing method which is now in vogue, but is really a good prep for any job interviewing method.

Hope that helps.

Dear DLP, Yes indeed, you have assisted me greatly! Thanks for being so generous with your time today in providing with me with outstanding insight. My plan is to get prepared! P.S. I've ordered the book you've suggested. thank you once again!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

mable in Lawnside, New Jersey

75 months ago

I might be a little late but I wanted to comment. My advice to you is to get a job in a law firm while you are in school. Even if you are just in the mail room or a receptionist. It will give you a chance to get a feel for how a law firm works and who playes what role. Smaller firms will give you more chances to branch out and learn new things. In a larger firm, you have a better chance of good benefits, moving up, and even tuition reimburcement. I have not begun my paralegal studies just yet but I plan to start in the fall. I became inspired to enter the legal feild while working as a receptionist for a small firm.

To comment on the person who said the hostility is not worth it, the most important thing I have learned while working here is to understand that unless you did something terrible, any hostility that you are recieving is not directed at you. Clients will yell when they are upset with their situation, lawyers will yell when the clients are upset. I have cried a good amount of times until I realized they weren't yelling at me, they were yelling at the situation. This can happen anywhere you work.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

mable in Lawnside, New Jersey

75 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver Colorado: Maybe I am just lucky to be in the place I am in because I have never had to deal with upfront disrespect. Yes it is stressfull at times and people are always yelling however there have been several times on especially stressful days where the partners will take us out to happy hour where we sit and joke and talk about family and career goals and politics. I cannot believe anyone would have to go through constant disrespect on a daily basis for 7 years. That is extreamly unprofessional and any attorney who works for the firm I work for who acted in such a manner would be repremanded. I have seen attorneys yell at clients for outright disrespect and unprofessionalism towards the staff and have been appoligized to by clients because the attorney told them it was not ok to speak to his staff that way.

I am sorry for what you had to go through. It must have been rough.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

mable in Lawnside, New Jersey

75 months ago

That's what it is, I don't work for a firm that handles litigation on a regular basis. It's corporate, estate planning and real estate and they only litigate if something goes wrong. Now I know, stay away from litigation (wasn't planning on going into litigation in the first place) but you never know. Thank you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Paralegal/Atty wife in Richmond, Virginia

74 months ago

Some lawyers R good & some R bad bosses. Some can make great husbands and others the worst on earth & beyond. They are humans like U & Me. Professionalism & respect means alot 2 me so although I've worked for & seen some very insensitive attorneys, I've long been married to 1 which I never work for, but he doesn't like law anymore anyway. Contentiousness is in their training, quite a few get huge egos & most R Type A personalities. One thing I know is I'm not responsible for how they chose to behave, but I am responsible for how I chose to react to everything. Anger is generally counter-productive even if it lets off emotional steam. Office politix in law firms can be nasty but find a situation that's right for U & you can prosper and enjoy a firm.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

dh in Northern CA, California

74 months ago

Paralegal student in Knoxville, Tennessee said: I only received one response to this... in hope of more feedback: ...Thoughts?

Hi P.Student: In case you're still reading, I agree with Displaced Legal's response to you two months ago. I earned my paralegal certificate from UCLA in 2000, then immediately thereafter began taking criminal justice classes at community college. I transferred to UC Irvine as a Criminology major, and by that point, I'd been working in the legal industry as a word processor/floater for two years. During that time, I realized that paralegal (nor any other law firm job) was not the job for me, and I dropped out of UCI after the first quarter. I then floundered thru life, wondering what to do with myself because I'd lost all interest in law because of the bad experience I had with firms and attys; yet I continued to work as a full time legal secretary for another 3 years.

I could no longer stand it. I returned to my hometown where the cost of living is less. I'm a full time Econ major at a state Univ, and will graduate next May at almost 42. This is not a good thing - at an age when I should have debt paid off AND doubling up on retirement contributions, I have stopped contributing to retirement because I can't afford it (I work 20 hours a week and carry a full load) plus I'm accruing massive school loan debt. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get out of this god-forsaken industry. I worked at 3 firms during my 5 years, 8 months, and 10 days of hell. None of them were good; one was pretty abusive.

I befriended a woman since moving up here. She's 55 and has been a legal secretary 15 years. When her kids were grown, she decided to go back to school to become a paralegal. She told me last week that, if given the chance, she'd go back and do something different. She's not happy but sticks it out because her husband is a well-paid engineer, and they plan to retire together in 2 years and travel. I wish you luck.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Kathleen Dakota in Blythewood, South Carolina

74 months ago

Thoughts? I have been the legal field for the last 30 years. It can be quite rewarding if the firm you work with values your talents, but most law firms do not. Many firms advertise these days for a legal secretary/paralegal - meaning they really want you to do all the secretarial work and if you can do more, that's a plus. Many attorneys depend on you to know all information on a case, so you MUST be organized, you MUST type fast (sometimes they give you work at the last minute to meet a deadline) and you must be thick skinned because there are many lawyers who raise their voice when they are under pressure or having a bad day. If I were you I would reconsider being a paralegal.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Marion in New York, New York

73 months ago

Kathleen Dakota in Blythewood, South Carolina said: Thoughts?

I have been the legal field for the last 30 years. It can be quite rewarding if the firm you work with values your talents, but most law firms do not. Many firms advertise these days for a legal secretary/paralegal - meaning they really want you to do all the secretarial work and if you can do more, that's a plus. Many attorneys depend on you to know all information on a case, so you MUST be organized, you MUST type fast (sometimes they give you work at the last minute to meet a deadline) and you must be thick skinned because there are many lawyers who raise their voice when they are under pressure or having a bad day. If I were you I would reconsider being a paralegal.

I have been a legal secretary/paralegal in NYC for most of my adult life. I didn't chose this career, but circumstances led to it. I worked for almost 20 years in my first firm, and then was fired with two days notice because they had to 'cut back'. They knew I was a single mother, three children, no child support, and still had no problem firing me with 2 days notice and no cause other than their financials. I have worked at 3 firms since then and frankly find that this whole industry is a consciousless nightmare. I am now in a firm where I have finally earned 4 weeks vacation (after 7 years). However, they felt they had to remove a week vacation from me this year because I was out for several days last year due to my father's death. It is not unusual behavior. We have just hired someone who was working at a firm for more than 20 years, however when her husband became deathly ill, she took some time off to take care of him. After her husband died, they fired her. This is what it means to work at a law firm. Ruthless, rich, heartless, ethicless people. I curse the day I fell into this business and wish I could rewind my life. I would only recommend this job to an enemy.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No Reply - Report abuse

vm in Cleveland, Ohio

73 months ago

Kathleen Dakota in Blythewood, South Carolina said: Thoughts?

I have been the legal field for the last 30 years. It can be quite rewarding if the firm you work with values your talents, but most law firms do not. Many firms advertise these days for a legal secretary/paralegal - meaning they really want you to do all the secretarial work and if you can do more, that's a plus. Many attorneys depend on you to know all information on a case, so you MUST be organized, you MUST type fast (sometimes they give you work at the last minute to meet a deadline) and you must be thick skinned because there are many lawyers who raise their voice when they are under pressure or having a bad day. If I were you I would reconsider being a paralegal.

It could be worse- you could have been employed in the mortgage industry for the last 20yrs and still looking for employment after 8 months in a field that is dead! I am starting my paralegal education again. I started in 2004, but my bank re-hired me and I stopped pursuing this career. Well they layed me off again and now I know better. I would go into nursing but I don't much like bodily fluids

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Marion in New York, New York

73 months ago

You seem to be jumping from the frying pan back into the fire. Can't you find something else? Haven't you been paying attention to this forum? Why don't you look into teaching? Medical transcriptionist? Radiology technician? There are so many more humane and worthwhile jobs.....don't keep going back and forth from bad to worse.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Joel Irving in Lindenhurst, New York

73 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: mable in Lawnside, New Jersey: "To comment on the person who said the hostility is not worth it, the most important thing I have learned while working here is to understand that unless you did something terrible, any hostility that you are receiving is not directed at you."

Not true. I worked directly for attorneys for more than eleven years. Of course, personalities vary, but I worked for an attorney who was caustic and disrespectful to me off and on for nearly seven years. I could never figure out why he was that way or what I had to do to make that individual happy.

Among other things, that SOB mocked my voice and how I speak. I was in on-air radio for several years long before I went into law. How I speak had nothing to do with clients being upset or with a situation or anything like that. It had everything to do with his passive belligerence and self-admitted abruptness. "Yelling at situations" does not excuse his behavior toward me.

You shouldn't put up with attorneys yelling at you, Mable. Your receptionist job is one of the toughest in the law firm. Attorneys have no right to yell at you or anyone at any time. It's all about respect. I don't believe that word is in most attorneys' lexicon.

I had clients I didn't like or who were uncooperative or annoying, but most of them were at least cordial if not friendly, and cooperative. I was glad to hear from all clients most of the time.

I'm always happy to provide information and experiences about paralegal work. But I stand by my position absolutely that the stress, long hours, lack of recognition, hostility and the toxic personalities are not worth going into law.

With your sunny disposition?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: mable in Lawnside, New Jersey: "Maybe I am just lucky to be in the place I am in because I have never had to deal with upfront disrespect."

Lucky, indeed. IMO your experience is atypical. Or maybe you don't work in a litigation shop.

"[T]here have been several times on especially stressful days where the partners will take us out to happy hour where we sit and joke and talk about family and career goals and politics."

Never had anything like that where I worked.
"I am sorry for what you had to go through. It must have been rough."

It was no day at the beach, but I held that job for as long as I could. I submit my experiences are more typical than atypical, and I stand by my position about working in the legal profession.

Hey DLP - Wouldn't we have loved to have her job. We would still be working - and I would have had a better life while working - as would you. I would say that our jobs definitely affected our life after work - at least on work days.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

vm in Cleveland, Ohio said: It could be worse- you could have been employed in the mortgage industry for the last 20yrs and still looking for employment after 8 months in a field that is dead! I am starting my paralegal education again. I started in 2004, but my bank re-hired me and I stopped pursuing this career. Well they layed me off again and now I know better. I would go into nursing but I don't much like bodily fluids

Hello vm in Cleveland - better option would be to pursue a business degree.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Marion in New York, New York said: I have been a legal secretary/paralegal in NYC for most of my adult life. I didn't chose this career, but circumstances led to it. I worked for almost 20 years in my first firm, and then was fired with two days notice because they had to 'cut back'. They knew I was a single mother, three children, no child support, and still had no problem firing me with 2 days notice and no cause other than their financials. I have worked at 3 firms since then and frankly find that this whole industry is a consciousless nightmare...., she took some time off to take care of him. After her husband died, they fired her. This is what it means to work at a law firm. Ruthless, rich, heartless, ethicless people. I curse the day I fell into this business and wish I could rewind my life. I would only recommend this job to an enemy.

WOW - As a former Paralegal of 10 years - sad to say, but you speak to the truth in a whole lot of the law firms.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Joel Irving in Lindenhurst, New York said: With your sunny disposition?

Hello Joel in NY -

I concur with DLP.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: kmm in Wilmington, Delaware: "Wouldn't we have loved to have her job...."

Except that Mable said she has worked as a receptionist in a small firm. A far cry IMO from working as a paralegal for a demanding, acerbic partner.............

It's too bad, in a way. I'm sure you would agree, Cindy, that law, in and of itself, is interesting. You've seen my stories about me eating up paralegal school. Now, I wish I could have had a heads-up about attorneys - though I doubt I would have changed my decision to go to paralegal school. I would have figured - wrongly - the naysayers are all wet and people in the legal field are no more difficult than other personalities I've encountered, such as those found in broadcasting. I found out otherwise soon enough and that's one reason why I post.

Oh - I do agree with what your posted whole heartedly.

P.S. - DId not know she was the receptionist- who knows what it was like working in the trenches of the firm.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Annie Muss in Garland, Texas

73 months ago

This forum certainly opens up the exposure to the truly gutless snakes that are at the heirarchy of this legal profession. A friend of mine who, for thirteen years, was a paralegal for a firm, wound up with a broken arm from an accident. She was not physically able to perform her duties and instead of employing the Family Leave Act, her firm fired her. As for me, my story is simple. An over 40 male with 2 degrees, one being a paralegal degree, and two years experience working for two solo attys, cannot find a job in the city of Dallas or surrounding area. In one year of sending my resume out via indeed and craigslist, phone calls, USPS mail, and direct office visits, not one attorney has contacted me in response to my offers. Maybe it is a blessing that I never ended up as a paralegal because after reading over these posted horror stories, loyalty to a firm is meaningless.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

vj in Westminster, Maryland

73 months ago

Paralegal student in Knoxville, Tennessee said: I only received one response to this, so I am posting again in hope of more feedback:

I would greatly appreciate as much thoughtful feedback as I can get on this. I am in my late 40s and making a career change.

I excel at obtaining info (whether it be in person, by Internet or by other research), writing and interviewing people; vocational aptitude and interest tests consistently pointed me to the paralegal field. I do find law interesting and I am detail oriented.

I am now in my second semester of a paralegal program and I have had serious concerns about my future in the field. I have had to drop classes two semesters in a row because 12 hours of paralegal classes proved much harder than it was carrying 18 hours in my major when I was in college decades ago. (I work part-time at a dead-end job, but at least it's decent pay.) I generally score 90 or above in paralegal classes.

Still, the law books seem to remain foreign to me, learning proper citation makes me feel as though I have dyslexia (I don't) and I'm told I read too much into case scenarios. I have never been able to raise my typing speed to more than nearly 40 wpm, despite decades of typing. I fear I lack aptitude and interest.

I asked my school's adviser for guidance, and she said paralegals need to be neat, organized, detail oriented and able to meet deadlines. Out of those, I am definitely not neat, and while I can be organized, I'm not sure I'm organized in a way lawyers could find it organized.

I am worried that my return to school will do little to dig me out the career hole I feel I have been in, and I'm not a young person.

Thoughts?

All I can say is good luck finding a good lawyer to work for. I needed to hire one, but ended up hiring and firing several - you'd think they would know what they're doing, but they are messed up (I even think one made a deal with the opposing attorney) #*&!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Annie Muss in Garland, Texas

73 months ago

Paralegal Student in Knoxville, Since you show a great concern for this profession, let me tell you what I have found out from my brief two-year term as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal. Attorneys want a superman/wonder woman. They want you to do everything, be knowledgable in every endeavor they undertake, and be capable of drafting pleadings instantly. If you are having trouble with citations, and believe me, it is not an easy undertaking, reroute your career before you find yourself with a degree but out of work. The appeal to the career is not a glamorous once you get behind a desk. I had one potential attorney tell me that I would, in essence, have to be willing accept being accosted by any staff attorney-no matter who's at fault. Today, I interviewed an attorney on a matter unrelated to the legal field, and he: 1. Showed up an hour and a half late, and 2. Interrupted our interview twice to answer phone calls, then made me wait 20 more minutes while he visited with a client. I scheduled this time with him and apparently did not intend to grant me the face-to-face time needed to finish the interview. Point being, attorneys are a different breed of people and you'd be hard pressed to find a good one willing to work with you if you lack the superman/wonder woman skills. If I can be of any more assistance, let me know.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

vm in Cleveland, Ohio said: It could be worse- you could have been employed in the mortgage industry for the last 20yrs and still looking for employment after 8 months in a field that is dead!

vm in Cleveland, OH - I worked in the mortgage banking industry in the 1980's. As you know, it is a cyclical industry. And it does not just slow down - it shuts down - fast - dead.

Right now- the housing crisis is the biggest economic problem. If you are unemployed - that is the biggest crisis.

When the mortgage industry died in 1990- the big "S&L crisis" - I worked p/t for a law firm and f/t for a credit card company - 12 hour days, 5 days a week - Did it for a year. and 4 mo just p/t cc company.

That is why I keep telling everyone- if you wnat to survive this economy - get paid re-training from Unemployment - or just get a job to pay the bills.
Thank you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

I concur with DLP.

re: unethical to use this free forum to peddle your own business.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Be careful about the "advice" you're peddling, bud. With rare exceptions, such as drafting real property documents in Colorado, legal document preparation is tantamount to practicing law. Practicing law without a license is illegal in Colorado and most other states. Only attorneys can practice law. Paralegals and not lawyers and therefore cannot practice law.

In the meantime, you are unethical to use Indeed's free fora to shill your little outfit to the detriment of its paid advertisers.

I concur with DLP.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Annie Muss in Garland, Texas said: Paralegal Student in Knoxville,

"Point being, attorneys are a different breed of people and you'd be hard pressed to find a good one willing to work with you if you lack the superman/wonder woman skills. If I can be of any more assistance, let me know.

Excellent post and right on.

I am a retired paralegal of 10 years.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Yes, Joel, with my sunny disposition. And you certainly exhibited your pleasing personality with your last, irrelevant post.

Have you ever been employed in law, Joel, or does your professional legal experience consist only of posting and shilling your blog, and hosting your silly internet talk show?

I stand by my comments.

LOL- Hey DLP- is it another beautiful [can't spell in the am] "sunny" day in Colorado.

Summers there are great.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Annie Muss in Garland, Texas

73 months ago

I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one DSS. Paralegals cannot represent someone else in practicing law; and that is in general. California has permitted paralegals to represent clients marginally in family law cases and in some bankrupcy cases, paralegals are limited, or at least once were, limited to represent in announcing cases. Certainly a paralegal is permitted to represent themself in a civil matter and although unwise, permitted to represent themself in a criminal matter.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Annie Muss in Garland, Texas

73 months ago

Very good. I'll put a star on your report card today. How did we get on this topic anyway? No need to reply, it a rhetorical question.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

73 months ago

Annie Muss in Garland, Texas said:

" Certainly a paralegal is permitted to represent themself in a civil matter and although unwise, permitted to represent themself in a criminal matter.

Hello Annie: Anyone can represent themselves "pro se" in a court of law, exceptions such as incompetent or age or other. Thank you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Page:   1  2  3  4  Next »   Last »

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.