Being a Teacher vs. a Paralegal

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (1 to 50 of 104)
Page:   1  2  3  Next »   Last »

NewToCT in Groton, Connecticut

75 months ago

Hi!

I just moved to CT and I'm torn between choosing two career paths: teacher vs. paralegal. I have a BA in English Literature. I want to choose a career where it's easier to get jobs if my boyfriend and I get relocated again (he's an engineer). Both positions are not my dream careers. I need something with a decent and steady income ($35-$40K and up). Any thoughts?

Thanks!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (11) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

Boston

75 months ago

"Finally, as a teacher you can influence lives. You can make a difference. As a paralegal, your influence on lives is less clear because attorneys get all the glory".
I agree 1000 percent with this quote, however, as one who fled law and took up teaching, I earn $17 an hour MORE so paralegal pay was good but now its BETTER.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (10) / No (4) Reply - Report abuse

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

71 months ago

I was a court reporter for ten years. Then a legal secretary. I have been a legal secretary/legal assistant/paralegal (I have a Bachelor's Degree and a paralegal degree) for many years.

Last year I completed a court for teacher certification in Florida. I am only certified for English 6-12 (but no job).

I am not 50. Being a teacher at 50, I don't have to worry about "aging out". There is a higher demand for teachers than there is for legal assistants. More respect. Better vacation time. Better insurance.

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

Jane Do Girl in Cantonment, Florida

70 months ago

Confused in Oak Lawn, Illinois said: The paralegal program is 4 months and $9,000 for the certificate.

Those 4 month certificate programs aren't worth the paper they're printed on. If you're going to pursue a paralegal program, find one that is an institutional member of AAfPE - (www.aafpe.org), at the very least, or an ABA approved program (www.abanet.org/legalservices/paralegals/directory/. This will ensure your program meets the education requirements for NALA certification or even State certification/registration programs in the future. For $9K, you could get an actual paralegal degree at a Jr. College or a post-baccalaureate certificate at a University.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (8) / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

Confused in Oak Lawn, Illinois

70 months ago

The paralegal program I looked into is a post-baccalaureate ABA approved certificate program at Roosevelt University (downtown Chicago)... so that wasn't the main issue = /

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

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

70 months ago

Confused in Oak Lawn, Illinois said: Right now I am actually debating between the same two options- elementary teaching and becoming a paralegal; mainly for the same reasons, I want a stable job with stable pay. I have a bachelors degree in Communication- which has led me nowhere except from one dead-end job to another- this is why I've decided on a career change.

My concern is going for a Masters degree in teaching will add on an additional 36k to the 26k I already owe in school loans (on a teachers salary!)... although, I would rather teach, this worries me financially for my future. The paralegal program is 4 months and $9,000 for the certificate.

Help!

University of West Florida has an on-line Masters in Education degree. The whole thing is on line. It will not cost you maybe $5,000.00.

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

Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

70 months ago

My ABA approved post-bac paralegal program was only 5 months long.

Teaching or paralegal. Well, I looked into both as well. Getting a teaching certificate would have cost more and taken longer. We don't have a teacher shortage here and there were more legal jobs at that time also.

Starting salary at the time was the exact same ($30,000) for either job, but everything else as far as pay and benefits was better on the paralegal side - percent of yearly raise, bonus, profit sharing, 401(k) match, cost of dependent care health insurance - all that was better on the paralegal side. Course, teachers get a lot more days off.

Work environment is better in an office, to me, and teachers always have to be "on stage" so to speak. Paralegals can find something to do that matches the mood they are in since there aren't 22 pairs of eyes looking at you waiting for you to do something.

My computer skills are developed a lot more as a paralegal, than as a teacher. In fact, there was a former teacher in my paralegal cert class and she had ZERO computer skills. None.

Flexibilty was also better as a paralegal. As a single mom I needed to be able to jump up and leave if I ever got The Call, and it's much harder to do that in a school enviroment. There is so little flexibility as far as coming and going. Heck you can't even see your own kid off on the first day of school, because it's your first day of school with your new class.

I did take one class towards a teaching certificate while I was working as a paralegal and it confirmed the choice I made. The teaching class was quite eye-opening. I still wish I had summers off, though.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (11) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

dh in Northern CA, California

70 months ago

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida said: I was a court reporter for ten years. Then a legal secretary. I have been a legal secretary/legal assistant/paralegal (I have a Bachelor's Degree and a paralegal degree) for many years.

Last year I completed a court for teacher certification in Florida. I am only certified for English 6-12 (but no job).

I am not 50. Being a teacher at 50, I don't have to worry about "aging out". There is a higher demand for teachers than there is for legal assistants. More respect. Better vacation time. Better insurance.

Mary, why did you go from court reporting to legal secretary?

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

dh in Northern CA, California

70 months ago

NewToCT in Groton, Connecticut said: Hi!

I just moved to CT and I'm torn between choosing two career paths: teacher vs. paralegal. I have a BA in English Literature. I want to choose a career where it's easier to get jobs if my boyfriend and I get relocated again (he's an engineer). Both positions are not my dream careers. I need something with a decent and steady income ($35-$40K and up). Any thoughts?

Thanks!

I know a lot of teachers, and they all love their jobs. Many have told me, however, "I don't do this for the money." As a former legal secretary, I rarely met a legal sec/paralegal who liked her job. Most of them were miserable and utterly burnt out.

Going into the legal industry was the worst decision I ever made.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (3) Reply - Report abuse

Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

70 months ago

I know a lot of teachers too, public and private. Many of the public school teachers I know and/or related to hate their jobs (course this is Texas where they only get to teach the TAKS test). The private school teachers (my child attends private school) seem much much happier.

I have personanlly known only 1 paralegal who hated her job, but she's very negative, doesn't know how to get along with others, and butts heads with female attorneys (I get along with her fine, however).

I don't know anyone else that is unhappy as a paralegal (including one other member of my family who works as a paralegal at State Farm-related law firm).

Nowadays though, the starting pay for teachers ($43,000) is higher than the starting pay for paralegals. Raises will catch the parelegal up though if they stay away from plaintiff's work.

I think the big hayday of being a paralegal is over however. It's a career on the way out.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (6) / No (7) Reply - Report abuse

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

70 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: Mary, why did you go from court reporting to legal secretary?

I graduated from court reporting school in 1981, and came to Tampa. There were no requirements for court reporters - so the market was flooded. It ended up, there were 13 (yes, 13) court reporting school in the Tampa area. There were tooooooo many court reporters.

Legal assistant looked pretty good - steady work, medical insurance and vacation, and going to the same place every day.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

70 months ago

I think the big hayday of being a paralegal is over however. It's a career on the way out.

This is very true.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (9) Reply - Report abuse

Shaye in Los Angeles, California

68 months ago

NewToCT in Groton, Connecticut said: Hi!

I just moved to CT and I'm torn between choosing two career paths: teacher vs. paralegal. I have a BA in English Literature. I want to choose a career where it's easier to get jobs if my boyfriend and I get relocated again (he's an engineer). Both positions are not my dream careers. I need something with a decent and steady income ($35-$40K and up). Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Hello.... I am having the same dilema. My outcome was teach Paralegal courses either at a vocational school, community college or adult school.

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

Natalie in Peoria, Illinois

67 months ago

What about the time and money that is saved by utilizing the skills of a paralegal as opposed to the hourly cost of an attorney and his or her time?

Saving money is far from obsolete and so are paralegals.

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

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

67 months ago

Attorneys are not interested in saving money - they are interested in BILLING OUT. There will always be a paralegal - but he/she will do mundane routine stuff, like preparing discovery, organizing and indexing large files, making phone calls or sending e-mails on behalf of attorneys, preparing files for trial.

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

Donald_ in New Jersey

67 months ago

Shaye in Los Angeles, California said: Hello.... I am having the same dilema. My outcome was teach Paralegal courses either at a vocational school, community college or adult school.

If you want to teach paralegal courses, I believe you need to be an attorney. I'm in the paralegal program at Kaplan University and every single professor I had in my paralegal courses is an attorney. Generally to teach on the university level as an adjunct professor, you need at least a master's or a JD.

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

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

67 months ago

Don's comments are very true. I've never heard of anyone who was a paralegal teaching paralegal courses. To teach at the university level you either have to have a Masters or JD.

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

Melody in Belleview, Florida

67 months ago

Donald_ in New Jersey said: If you want to teach paralegal courses, I believe you need to be an attorney. I'm in the paralegal program at Kaplan University and every single professor I had in my paralegal courses is an attorney. Generally to teach on the university level as an adjunct professor, you need at least a master's or a JD.

I am looking for an online school in paralegal studies. How long have you been attending Kaplan? Any good comments? Any negative comments?

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

Shaye in Los Angeles, California

67 months ago

I attend Kaplan University also. It is ok if you can work on your own with minimal assistance from the professor and excellent problem solving skills. I have attended Kaplan for 3 years and am now in my last three classes and it has not failed that everytime, even with some excellent teachers, every problem I encountered, I had to solve with the Professor assiting after the fact. When turning in my written assignments, 90% of the time, I get my grade back and the other 10% I get my grade back with corrections and/or comments. If you are looking for a paralegal school where you will have more interactions with your Professors, online schooling is not for you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Melody in Belleview, Florida

67 months ago

Thanks for the input. I am looking to get my Associates in Paralegal studies and want an online school that is in Florida and that has a bricks and mortor school also. I am not in a location where I can attend an ABA approved program nor in a position to attend classes in person so online is my only choice. I am thinking maybe Keiser University. Any one have experience with them?

Keiser has several brick and mortor schools in Florida along with their online program so I see this is a plus. They rank 12th by OEDB oedb.org/rankings but I don't know if their rankings are realy worth anything but I cannot find anything on the net that ranks online schools.

I am actually attending Florida Tech University online now but unfortunately will have to transfer as they do not have a paralegal studies degree. If anyone is curious I think their online program has been great so far. I have been attending since June 08.

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

Been There, Done That, Want OUT in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey

55 months ago

Being a paralegal brings with it the high likelihood of being subject to abusive treatment by attorneys. A large number of attorneys feel that by virtue of their J.D., they are entitled to mistreat people they perceive to be "beneath" them. Paralegals or "worse", secretaries.

There is just so much of having a "thick skin" that anyone should have to put up with for a paycheck.

Teaching is a far better career. Just make sure the Principal wasn't a lawyer in a previous "life".

NewToCT in Groton, Connecticut said: Hi!

I just moved to CT and I'm torn between choosing two career paths: teacher vs. paralegal . I have a BA in English Literature. I want to choose a career where it's easier to get jobs if my boyfriend and I get relocated again (he's an engineer). Both positions are not my dream careers . I need something with a decent and steady income ($35-$40K and up). Any thoughts?

Thanks!

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

Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

55 months ago

I would just love to work for an abusive attorney. I would take whatever BS they throw at me and throw it back 10 times harder. Sure, they would fire me, but they would go home feeling like sh*t. I think someone here mentioned an attorney threw a chair at them not that long ago. You don't even want to know what I woudl do if that happened to me. Let's just say it would invovle a broken window and someone falling out of it.

People, you don't need to take abuse. Stand up for goodness sake. Even a German Shepherd would stand up to an abusive employer.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

55 months ago

Frank loved (and loves) Anna. No matter what Anna did wrong, I got the blame. I don't blame Anna. Frank likes (loves) petite, young pretty girls (that's his man thing). He was going on one day about something, and I looked at him REAL SERIOUSLY and said, "You don't talk to me that way. I have well educated with three college degrees, and I have earned the right to be spoken to in a respectful manner." The shock on his face.

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

dh in Northern CA, California

55 months ago

Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey said: I would just love to work for an abusive attorney. I would take whatever BS they throw at me and throw it back 10 times harder. Sure, they would fire me, but they would go home feeling like sh*t. I think someone here mentioned an attorney threw a chair at them not that long ago. You don't even want to know what I woudl do if that happened to me. Let's just say it would invovle a broken window and someone falling out of it.

People, you don't need to take abuse. Stand up for goodness sake. Even a German Shepherd would stand up to an abusive employer.

DLP is right. The atty wouldn't care. He WOULD NOT go home feeling like shiit. And if you somehow slighted or embarrassed him in front of colleagues, he'd be hell bent on payback and do his best to bad mouth you all over town, hoping to make it impossible for you to get a job elsewhere. Attys are vindictive. If they get "one upped" by someone whom they consider is so far beneath them, look out.

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

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

55 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: So what happened next, Mary? Did Frank back off?

Yeah, he did. He looked surprised. Then he looked embarrassed. Then he said, "I'm sorry. But you don't hear me, so I was talking louder ---" BS.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

55 months ago

Don, it sounds like you have little experience working in the legal field. Any boss, or superior above you, especially attorneys, it's not wise to throw their crap back at them.

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

myeka in Severna Park, Maryland

43 months ago

NewToCT in Groton, Connecticut said: Hi!

I just moved to CT and I'm torn between choosing two career paths: teacher vs. paralegal. I have a BA in English Literature. I want to choose a career where it's easier to get jobs if my boyfriend and I get relocated again (he's an engineer). Both positions are not my dream careers. I need something with a decent and steady income ($35-$40K and up). Any thoughts?

Thanks!

choose paralegals they make up to 40k a year

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

myeka in Severna Park, Maryland

43 months ago

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida said: I was a court reporter for ten years. Then a legal secretary. I have been a legal secretary/legal assistant/paralegal (I have a Bachelor's Degree and a paralegal degree) for many years.

Last year I completed a court for teacher certification in Florida. I am only certified for English 6-12 (but no job).

I am not 50. Being a teacher at 50, I don't have to worry about "aging out". There is a higher demand for teachers than there is for legal assistants. More respect. Better vacation time. Better insurance.

so do you ever get to go on vacation if your a paralegal

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

mary in Tampa, Florida

43 months ago

I did not get a teaching job. I have been substituting for three years. With certification I now make $11.08 an hour, and no benefits.

There are now too many teachers. Where I live, they are generally only hiring teachers with a Bachelor's in Education (no alternative course).

Working as a paralegal or a legal secretary in a law firm, most give two or three weeks of vacation time. This is standard.

I am now looking for freelance work as a court reporter. I let my RPR lapse twenty years ago. I plan to retake the two-part test (written and machine skills) in August.

Although it's possible, it is unlikely I will get a full time teaching position. I am trying to get interviews in other counties. I am applying for certification in Georgia. I do not expect to EVER have another legal job (I am 53 now, they don't want me). My best choice for work is through court reporting, and if I need to, substitute teaching).

Had I know eight years ago what the future held for me, I would have stayed in my small house ($300 a month), not wasted any money on education. I have $10,000 in student loans, which I have no ability to pay.

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

CurrentParalegal in Washington, Pennsylvania

43 months ago

First of all it depends on your goals. I have worked both as a paralegal and a teacher in college level. I would say that it depends what would you like to do. I have enjoyed both careers, but as a paralegal the salary was/is much better than a teacher. Plus as a college teacher, you work on contract basis (since tenured are going away) and always you need to look for employment.
Each career has its pros and cons. It will depends where you are located, what is your age, family responsibilities, what kind of law practice you are in, what law firm you are working with and what kind of working culture you will be in...
I have worked in big law firms and small ones. I enjoyed both, because each one has a lot to offer and you can learn. I prefer working as paralegal full time and teach as adjunct.

I disagree with some comments that paralegal career is out. That is not true. Attorneys always need support. I do agree though that there is a supply of attorneys, but if you are flexible and have willing to relocate in another state or place, you can have a great career and life. I worked in NYC (Manhattan) and currently I work in Pittsburgh. I loved both places and I am still enjoying the city life.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

43 months ago

My sister so happens to be an elementary teacher. I so happen to be a paralegal with 12 years of experience. So here goes my spin on this question.

Being a teacher can be both rewarding and exhausting. You really have to be a "people person" if you want to be a teacher. That means always having a positive attitude, not take criticism doled by parents and even some peers to heart, and being able to get along with various types of personalities. You will also be expected to work miracles sometimes. For example, if you teach older grades (Grades 4-6) depending on the school district, you may encounter kids not possessing strong math and reading skills. Sad fact is that many school districts do not have the funds to keep kids back, nor provide tutoring programs if the child has problems. If you teach in an urban school district, be prepared in dealing with parents who are MIA or just do not care, which ultimately affects the child's performance in class and mandatory testing.

You will also have to deal annual budget cuts as well and the threat with cuts in programs and possible job loss. In NY (where I live) there is a crisis in which some districts have to shed up to 50-200 jobs. My sister teaches pre-K in which she heads the program. I'm pretty proud of her. It's in an urban school district. Her students walk into class not knowing numbers, colors, and even the alphabet. However by the end of the year, her students are either reading or starting to read and perform basic addition. As great as this program is, it has been threatened for the past ten years in being cut and this year, she may have to locate another job in the district if the funding is cut. Budget cuts are a harsh reality in the teaching profession.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

43 months ago

**continued**

Being a paralegal can also be rewarding and pretty exhausting as well. I have been fortunate so far in my career in working with some really great, respectful attorneys in which I was able to learn a great deal OTJ. However law is very demanding and things come up unexpectedly in which you are expected to stay OT to assist or handle something independently (i.e. getting a discovery response out, assisting on putting a motion together). You have to deal with deadlines constantly so if you do not have skills in time management and organization, this field is not for you.

As with any field, sometimes you will encounter some pretty abusive people such as opposing counsel and even clients. If you are highly sensitive, then perhaps I would reconsider being a paralegal. When the attorney is in court or handling another case, you are expected to be on the front line and know the ins and outs of the cases. Paralegals are not secretaries which you are just expected to type stuff and make binders and files. It also greatly depends on the firm or company you work for as far as the type of work performed. My biggest complaint about being a paralegal is the lack of consistency. When I first started out, one office I worked for just expected me to file and make binders. However my second job, the work performed was discovery intensive. It does vary on the firms that hire you, or the general counsel who heads the department in corporation so bare that in mind. It's not cookie cutter when you look for work.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

43 months ago

Salary varies in both fields. Depending on the school district, your starting salary may be in the low 40's, just as in law depending on the firm or company that hires you, your starting salary maybe in the 30's. Some firms reward loyalty with pay, some do not. It really varies. If you do become a teacher, the teacher's union (granted if you teach in public) you will receive raises and AOL costs. However, there is a current trend in the US in being anti-union and teacher's union is often targeted by political pundits and the press. Usually when towns/cities have to perform budget cuts, schools are the first in line to receive cuts. Many private schools, especially Catholic, have been closing up shop. To increase your chances in finding work, you will need that masters degree. A bachelors will not get you very far.

DLP mentioned outsourcing in law. At this time, document review is outsourced to India, that is fact. However it is still questionable if this trend will continue or not. I have read about some firms bringing doc review back to the US due to investing in some technology and finding many errors when work is outsourced. Some firms have greatly downsized, but some markets are starting to pick up again. The big problem in Law right now is the over-production of law students. The number of grads produced each year far outnumber the jobs available.

You may have to accept a lower position in the food chain (ie file clerk, EBT clerk) to get your foot in the door. In Law, it is rare that anyone (including attorneys) graduate and start up and running. Law basically is experience driven--the more you know and do, the better your chances in locating work and gaining better pay. However, one has to have great patience when working in Law. You have to clock your time and pay your dues. It's not like in finance or entertainment that if you hit a lucky streak, you make out fast. Experience greatly matters in Law.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

43 months ago

Butt ending was part of the abuse you took? That's actually kind of funny. DLP is good for some humor here.

For those not in the know, butt ending is taking the handle of the hockey stick (the end opposite of the blade) and ramming into another player. Butt ending usually results in the offending player being thrown out of the game and possibly suspended upon review.

I've never heard of butt ending being used outside of hockey. This is a first for me. :P

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

43 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: What is an EBT clerk?

Sorry about that. In NY, a deposition is also referred to as as "examination before trial", often shortened and referred to as an "EBT".

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

43 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Please explain the job. I've never heard of an EBT or depo clerk before.

Deposition clerks are responsible in scheduling and making arrangements for depositions, independent medical examinations, and sworn statements as well as processing subpoenas to be served for sworn testimony. Clerks are also responsible in ensuring the transcripts are received timely.

Usually Big Law and PI offices employee people for these types of positions.

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

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

42 months ago

This "EBT Clerk" thing sounds like a mixture of Paralegal and Legal Assistant (Secretary). Lack of definition as to job parameters is one of the problems with the Paralegal field. You'll be asked to do anything and everything. I'm actually surprised a specific position for this EBT Clerk job description exists with jobs going bye bye and people being required to pick up extra job responsibilities.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

42 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: This "EBT Clerk" thing sounds like a mixture of Paralegal and Legal Assistant (Secretary). Lack of definition as to job parameters is one of the problems with the Paralegal field. You'll be asked to do anything and everything. I'm actually surprised a specific position for this EBT Clerk job description exists with jobs going bye bye and people being required to pick up extra job responsibilities.

"You may have to accept a lower position in the food chain (ie file clerk, EBT clerk) to get your foot in the door. In Law, it is rare that anyone (including attorneys) graduate and start up and running."

I am requoting what I simply wrote that EBT Clerk is considered entry level. Depending on the firm and volume of cases, there legal assistants that are hired just to do calendar work and scheduling appointments. It all depends on the law firm, it's management, and volume of cases. In P/I, WC, and med-mal, having depo clerks is not uncommon. Sometimes though, these positions are P/T.

Interestingly enough, some of the Big Law firms who had massive firings in NY (ie Latham, Case & White) are re-hiring. I know some legal secretary who was let go of in Skadden nearly two years ago received a call last week asking if she would be interested in returning to the firm. I cannot comment on the rest of the country, but in NY, at least some law firms are rebounding.

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

Nadia

42 months ago

Don't do either, most lawyers either want someone with a ton of experience or not hiring at all since this recession and teaching, you do NOT get respect you get blamed for everything by principals, parents and the kids or anyone else and don't even get me started on teachers getting laid off because of budget cuts.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

42 months ago

The main thing with teaching is that you only get paid nine months out of the year. How are you going to get by financially during the summer? If you decide to become a teacher, could you take a job with a school or school district where they would pay you year around?

Since you took English literature in college, perhaps you could teach it at the college level.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

42 months ago

Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania said: The main thing with teaching is that you only get paid nine months out of the year. How are you going to get by financially during the summer? If you decide to become a teacher, could you take a job with a school or school district where they would pay you year around?

Since you took English literature in college, perhaps you could teach it at the college level.

You will need a masters degree to teach at a college level, even to teach as an adjunct.

As far as summer pay, most school districts offer its teachers payment plans to save a portion of their salary to tie them over for the two months they have off (Summer Vacation starts end of June for a majority of school districts. Most school districts demand its teachers and staff to report back to work end of August).

This all depends on if you really want to teach. Teaching is NOT an easy job at all. You have to put up with many different types of personalities and greatly depending on the school district, there is even a risk of danger. You really have to love it and desire to teach--don't just go into the field because you simplty want July and August off.

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

InfoSeeker in Grapevine, Texas

42 months ago

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York said: You will need a masters degree to teach at a college level, even to teach as an adjunct.

As far as summer pay, most school districts offer its teachers payment plans to save a portion of their salary to tie them over for the two months they have off (Summer Vacation starts end of June for a majority of school districts. Most school districts demand its teachers and staff to report back to work end of August).

This all depends on if you really want to teach. Teaching is NOT an easy job at all. You have to put up with many different types of personalities and greatly depending on the school district, there is even a risk of danger. You really have to love it and desire to teach--don't just go into the field because you simplty want July and August off.

TMF - Can you give me some insight into the NYC area market? I'm considering a paralegal dipoloma program in NYC and have a bachelor's degree. It seems to be all doom and gloom in the forum. Thanks so much and sorry to interject on this post. I had posted a week or so ago, but didn't get any responses. Funny enough, I have also considered teaching as well as a career posibility and you outlined some really good points/comparisons on the two fields.

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

InfoSeeker in Grapevine, Texas

42 months ago

CurrentParalegal in Washington, Pennsylvania said: First of all it depends on your goals. I have worked both as a paralegal and a teacher in college level. I would say that it depends what would you like to do. I have enjoyed both careers, but as a paralegal the salary was/is much better than a teacher. Plus as a college teacher, you work on contract basis (since tenured are going away) and always you need to look for employment.
Each career has its pros and cons. It will depends where you are located, what is your age, family responsibilities, what kind of law practice you are in, what law firm you are working with and what kind of working culture you will be in...
I have worked in big law firms and small ones. I enjoyed both, because each one has a lot to offer and you can learn. I prefer working as paralegal full time and teach as adjunct.

I disagree with some comments that paralegal career is out. That is not true. Attorneys always need support. I do agree though that there is a supply of attorneys, but if you are flexible and have willing to relocate in another state or place, you can have a great career and life. I worked in NYC (Manhattan) and currently I work in Pittsburgh. I loved both places and I am still enjoying the city life.

CP... Would you be able to give me some insight into the NYC paralegal market? I'm sorry to interject on this post but I had posted my own question a week or so ago, but no one responded. I'm considering a paralegal diploma program and have a bachelor's degree. Do you think there are employment opportunities for entry level after the diploma program is completed in the NYC area? I also have years of experience in another field. Thanks you... your insight and advice for are much appreciated.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

42 months ago

@InfoSeeker:

Although NYC's market has opened up since 2008, it is *still* a highly competitive market. If you do decide to do the paralegal route, I strongly recommend against taking an outrageous student loan to return to school. CUNY offers an ABA program which is half the cost of NYU's paralegal diploma. I only would recommend going to NYU for two reasons 1) If you only have an associate; or 2) your UGC is low ranked (4T). If you can find an ABA approved program which fits into your budget, then consider it. Also check if the program offers an internship. If the program does not, look into NYC Paralegal Association which offers mentorship. The association also has a link with the City Courts to assist counsel and judges pro-bono. If you could gut it out for three months w/out pay, which would be a plus on your resume.

As I mentioned you may have to take a position as an admin, docket clerk, or floater assistant. I've found working in-house the best route for me, however I started off working in law firms (first as a secretary, then as an entry level paralegal). Just be prepared for a long haul (at least two to three years) before you can expect to earn decent money, especially during this market. If you do decide to return to school, make sure your GPA is at least 3.0; most law firms especially in NYC will ask for your transcript. I also recommend focusing on writing, perhaps learning Spanish, Korean, or Mandarin as those languages are in high demand now and knowing a foreign language will increase your chances in getting your foot into the door.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

42 months ago

continued...

Since NYC is expensive to live there, make sure you can at least find a place to live first that can accommodate your expenses (not sure if you know people who live in NYC or one of the boroughs). In looking at the adverts over the past few years, average starting salary is $15-$20 per hour. Some firms do not offer overtime for paralegals, so take that into consideration. Last thing you want to do is take on a lot of debt when you are just starting out.

In law you have to have a lot of patience. Law is a performance and experience driven field. If you choose your positions carefully (working in reputable law firms, solid insurance companies, etc.) you should fair pretty well in your career. Also consider working environment which actually is more important than an above average salary. There are some firms and companies which are toxic to work for so make sure when you interview, you look for the warning signs before accepting the offer. The Vault is also another good source to do research of firms and companies.

I would think long and hard before investing your time and money if you really do want to become a paralegal. Once you enter into the legal field, you do become locked. Despite developing great skills which can be transferred, most of the business world deems law as a separate field and it's hard to break into another field unless you are willing to start over from scratch.

Since you have studied education, try substituting first before studying something different to make sure that you really do not want to teach since you already invested the time and money.

Hope this helps.

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

InfoSeeker in Grapevine, Texas

42 months ago

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York said: continued...

Hope this helps.

Thanks so much TMF. I am considering the NYU program... it is much shorter and specifically for those that already have a degree. I realize there are cheaper routes but they seem to all be twice as long so your looking at more living expenses which would mean you'd probably end up with a similar amount of debt.

Is the NYU program not well respected in the city? I do have one relative in the city but they don't have space for me on a long term basis, so I would have to find a lower cost situation in one of the boroughs. I had determined that joining the NYC association would be good as well.

I've never studied education. My bachelor's is in marketing. Do you think after graduation, that I'd be able to find a job within 2 months?

Thanks again... your insight and advice is much appreciated. It's been difficult to find information out there from actual paralegals.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

42 months ago

NYU is a well respected school however the paralegal program is expensive. Between tuition and books, you are looking at $25k for just the diploma. Also bear in mind that should you go in NYU's program you would have to enroll in the Fall Semester full time. The program itself is grueling in which classes are for eight hours per day, at least four times a week (if the professor runs behind, alternate classes are also held on Fridays) and your Saturdays will be taken up by studying and completing assignments. If you can suck it up for four months, no problem. Just be prepared to do a great deal of reading and meeting very tight deadlines for assignments. NYU is a good school, but it is very expensive.

CUNY is more reasonable in price and is also approved by the ABA however it will take one year to complete the paralegal program (if you already have a Bachelor). If you are interested, 15-20 miles north of Manhattan, Westchester Community College also offers ABA Paralegal Program. Westchester is a hell of lot cheaper than NYU's, but that program will take one year to complete, but it has a mandatory internship. You can also find more affordable living arrangements in Westchester County in cities such as Yonkers, White Plains, and Mt. Vernon and Westchester County is 30 minutes by metro north to GC so that may be a consideration for you should you want to live in NY.

Will you find a job within two months after graduation? Honestly I cannot answer that question. The legal field is in a lot of turmoil right now to be quite honest. There have been many lay-offs from firms and in-house, and even though some markets like NY and FL have been re-bounding, it's still highly competitive. Bear in mind you will be going up against experienced paralegals, recent law grads, and non-admitted attorneys for some positions. I always recommend keeping one eye on the future because in law, it is experienced based and prestige driven.

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

Inforseeker in Grapevine, Texas

42 months ago

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York said: NYU is a well respected school however the paralegal program is expensive. Between tuition and books, you are looking at $25k for just the diploma. QUOTE]

Thanks again TFF... I did just contact NYU to make sure I wasn't missing something. The total cost with the fees is $13,620. Some of the private programs for paralegal studies in Dallas are near that much (9K), so I'm not sure that it is way out of scope. Plus I would be out of state going to a NY State college so it would be twice as much for me to attend probably than a NY state resident. Also, they do have a summer intensive, so it isn't just offered in the Fall. Thanks again for your response on the information you provided. I realize it is a tough market out there and with many jobs besides say nursing! :) We'll see what happens. It seems less and less likely that I will be able to pursue this.

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

MarissaH8637 in Clinton Township, Michigan

42 months ago

Inforseeker- I was in the NYC job market and it's not good, even now. All of the big firms I know of have sent doc review work overseas (the kind of work that traditionally goes to paralegals and new JDs). Meanwhile, the supply of lawyers and support staff certainly hasn't dwindled. The ABA has opened a tremendous amount of schools in the past few years, despite there already being a gross oversupply. These are things to think about. To find an area that is truly marketable, ask yourself these questions:

1.) What can I do well that most others cannot? For me, that was complex math and analytical reasoning. Find that area not just anybody can hop into. This weeds out a lot of the competition.

2.) How can I transfer these skills into a position?

3.) Is this a position that truly is in demand? Speak with people who do the job everyday, not the schools or BLS stats.

4.) Is this a job that could easily be outsourced?

Find the skills other people don't have and capitalize on them. That is the secret to success.

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

tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

42 months ago

@InfoSeeker: NYU is a private institution, not a state funded school. Tuition will not differ between residents and non-residents. I should have been a little clearer. COLA expenses in NYC are off the hook and I do not believe NYU offers housing to its returning ed students. You will need to check with the school if you really want to enroll. I know someone who recently completed the program and between books, school fees, tuition, and travel to class, the cost came to $25K.

I think most para positions will not be outsourced in litigation and corporate as you need in-house manpower to handle that type of work, however as mentioned, there is a lot of competition for jobs right now. I really recommend seeing if you can find affordable housing first before enrolling inNYU program. Last thing you need is to accrue debt with no job lined up and no place to live once you complete the program.

By the way, my friend is a nurse and she had her hours cut by Bayada. We have to hang in there and be smart with our money.

All the best.

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

Page:   1  2  3  Next »   Last »

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