Legal secretary blog!

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (1 to 50 of 276)
Page:   1  2  3  4  Next »   Last »

Cathy in New Jersey

88 months ago

Congrats to you for your expertise in the industry as a legal secretary as I have been a legal secretary for over 14 years now with 3 of the years working off-site (at my home) under a contract basis for 3 different sole practitioners handling anywhere from attorney/client billing to preparing legal documents in its final form from dictation tapes provided to me on a full-time basis. The money I was making was between $25.00 - $30.00 per hour and the practicing attorneys each paid for delivery of the work to and from my home to their offices as well as any supplies I may have needed. However, I no longer am working from home simply because I would rather be on-site at a Firm or Company because for some strange reasons I assumed I was missing out on the ever changing rules, formats and regulations of the Courts but after deciding to discontinue my at home service only then did I find out that nothing in the industry has changed after 3 years of working off-site. Anyway, getting back to your comment as for your taking time off to perhaps pursue other work but keeping within the scope of your background how would you feel about working off-site perhaps at your home. You can still make the $$$$ and keep within your expertise. I ask this question to you because of your many years in the industry and with your skills I am sure it will work out for you in the long run. I know quite a few secretaries who don't have at least 8 years in the industry who would be happy to work off-site opposed to working in the law firm but the problem with them is that the attorneys would probably suggest to them that they don't have over 10 years to accomplish the task at home on their own will and therefore they would probably prefer someone with at least 10 or more years. Just curious as to your thoughts.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No (5) Reply - Report abuse

Deborah James in Alameda, California

88 months ago

I'm glad to see this forum. I moderate a list serv for paralegals and have a resource list serv for legal secretaries and paralegals.

Several people have tried to start list servs for legal secretaries and they die out because no one participates.

Given the increasing disrespect for legal secretaries by both attorneys and paralegals, it isn't surprising that few legal secretaries participate.

NALS has an online community that generates some input.

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

Half Eagle in Dallas, Texas

88 months ago

Actually, I think the increasing disrespect would be a reason for legal secretaries to participate, not a reason to keep quiet. But that's just me.

I've looked into joining NALS. It looks to be a great resource, but it's prohibitively expensive for me.

Half Eagle
www.lawyersrighthand.com

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

88 months ago

NALS is expensive, but worth it. However, you do not have to be a member to take advantage of their online community, even the online classes they offer are free to the public.

www.NALS.org

I am inbetween jobs right not, but plan to reactivate my NALS membership as soon as possible.

I also think that legal secretaries (at least most of those I've met) are afraid to comment about their attorneys. I've seen people put up with the most horrendous abuse on jobs.

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

Cathy in New Jersey

88 months ago

Deborah James said: I'm glad to see this forum. I moderate a list serv for paralegals and have a resource list serv for legal secretaries and paralegals.
Several people have tried to start list servs for legal secretaries and they die out because no one participates.
Given the increasing disrespect for legal secretaries by both attorneys and paralegals, it isn't surprising that few legal secretaries participate.
NALS has an online community that generates some input.

~~
I must agree with you that I too am happy to learn that there is a forum for Legal Secretaries. I also look forward to reading about the comments others have opinionated. I do hope that this forum does not disappear because of low participation.

I was also wondering what NALS stand for and assume it is abbrievated for National Alliance for Legal Secretaries? If so do you know whether they have a website because I for one would be interested to learn more about them.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

88 months ago

NALS - formerly the National Association for Legal Secretaries - now

NALS .....the association for legal professionals.

website:

www.nals.org

I also moderate a list serv you are welcome to join

ParalegalCity and a resource list serv Lsclass

NALS is a bit pricey, however the online community is free and there are online classes as well.

Lsclass provides links to education sites, legal research sites, medical sites, financial sites. I have tried to cover the gamut of fields that the law supports.

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

Half Eagle in Dallas, Texas

88 months ago

I didn't realize NALS offered free features. I will definitely check them out.

I know there's a lot of fear of speaking out. The nice thing about our new forum is that the archives are members-only. If you want another layer of anonymity, you can use a nickname or first-name only on the list. I'm using first name only, because I've linked the list to my blog, and I prefer to remain anonymous as a blogger. It's not that I have anything particularly nasty to say; I just want to be able to speak freely about some of the more sensitive issues.

Kelly
www.lawyersrighthand.com

Deborah James said: NALS is expensive, but worth it. However, you do not have to be a member to take advantage of their online community, even the online classes they offer are free to the public.
www.NALS.org
I also think that legal secretaries (at least most of those I've met) are afraid to comment about their attorneys. I've seen people put up with the most horrendous abuse on jobs.

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

peacefulone in Charlotte, North Carolina

88 months ago

really enjoyed ready your responds. I got my paralegal degree in 1995, but no one would hirer me. Its not Iam a bad person. I thing that Iam a very nice people atleasr that's what everyone I know has ever said to me. So keep up the good work. I change my caree I would like to do billing at home. I dont like working in the public any more. So thanks again for your strong encouraging comments

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

Relieved in Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

87 months ago

I have about 25 years of legal secretarial experience. Burn-out happens. I stuck with the legal arena because I really loved what I was doing. Nevertheless, I'm just SO relieved at this point to be away from the firm for which I was working. Abuse from personnel as well as from attorneys is rampant there right now - and likely will not end. Age discrimination is alive and well, and God forbid someone should have to take medical leave. That's a kiss of death. I don't think all attorneys are abusive; it's just that sometimes they get so high on the hog and think they're so almighty perfect - and above the law.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (15) / No Reply - Report abuse

Cathy in New Jersey

87 months ago

Relieved in Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee said: I have about 25 years of legal secretarial experience. Burn-out happens. I stuck with the legal arena because I really loved what I was doing. Nevertheless, I'm just SO relieved at this point to be away from the firm for which I was working. Abuse from personnel as well as from attorneys is rampant there right now - and likely will not end. Age discrimination is alive and well, and God forbid someone should have to take medical leave. That's a kiss of death. I don't think all attorneys are abusive; it's just that sometimes they get so high on the hog and think they're so almighty perfect - and above the law.

~~~~~~
Wow, I admire professional secretaries who seem to last in the field for as long as you did (25 yrs). Being that you are thoroughly familiar with the law firm environment I had a question or 2for you. My question is that I have been in the field for about 14 years now with my background being diversified in many areas of law, however I have obtained that experience through various law firms on a short term basis not by my choice but due to unprofessionalism in the workplaces I've worked. Now unfortunately I am unemployed for the past 2 years and desperately seeking employment. Within the past 7 months of my search I have been offered 3 LS positions at different firms with one paying no more than $37,000 to work for 2 partners, another no more than $34,000 to work for 3 associates and another to work for no more than $35,000 to work for 2 associates. I have declined each offer and still searching. From your expertise in the field, do you think that my changing workplaces constantly has an affect on my not getting employment sooner because I have been searching for again almost 2 years for a good job. I have in my possession about 175 resumes that I have sent out within the past 2 years and still no job. Any suggestions on what the issue may be with all my diversified experience.

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

Cathy in New Jersey

87 months ago

You might consider one of those lower paying jobs if they have benefits that help offset that. If you have changed jobs a lot or haven't worked in awhile it can be a red flag. I suggest considering going from temp to perm at first. I've gotten jobs that way and they can see how good you are while you are temping for them.

~
Hi, are you responding to one of my comments?

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

Relieved in Tennessee in Rockford, Tennessee

87 months ago

Cathy in New Jersey said: ~~~~~~
Wow, I admire professional secretaries who seem to last in the field for as long as you did (25 yrs). Being that you are thoroughly familiar with the law firm environment I had a question or 2for you. My question is that I have been in the field for about 14 years now with my background being diversified in many areas of law, however I have obtained that experience through various law firms on a short term basis not by my choice but due to unprofessionalism in the workplaces I've worked. Now unfortunately I am unemployed for the past 2 years and desperately seeking employment. Within the past 7 months of my search I have been offered 3 LS positions at different firms with one paying no more than $37,000 to work for 2 partners, another no more than $34,000 to work for 3 associates and another to work for no more than $35,000 to work for 2 associates. I have declined each offer and still searching. From your expertise in the field, do you think that my changing workplaces constantly has an affect on my not getting employment sooner because I have been searching for again almost 2 years for a good job. I have in my possession about 175 resumes that I have sent out within the past 2 years and still no job. Any suggestions on what the issue may be with all my diversified experience.

People no longer stay at their first place of employment for 40-50 years and then retire. People move around every couple years or so now. So long as you're not moving every couple of months, I wouldn't worry about it. On the salary part, I would say that if you find yourself with a staff-friendly, pleasant workplace - take the cut in pay and enjoy being less stressed out. Money isn't everything. Health is.

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

Half Eagle in Dallas, Texas

87 months ago

My experience with having changed jobs 3 times in 2 years was that law firms do see it as a red flag. In some industries (like technology), 6 months is considered great tenure. Not so with law firms; they can be quite old-fashioned. When I interviewed for my current job, I had considerable prejudice to overcome because of my recent job history (and this after good tenure for 10 years prior to that transitional 2).

Cathy, you may also be running into trouble because you've been out 2 years. Maybe not so much because of the unemployment, but just because you've been out of the legal field for 2 years. Legal HR managers and recruiters have this notion that you fall behind if you're out of the game. I don't think this is really true, but that's what I hear over and over.

Kelly
www.lawyersrighthand.com
finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/legality/

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

Cathy in New Jersey

87 months ago

My experience with having changed jobs 3 times in 2 years was that law firms do see it as a red flag. In some industries (like technology), 6 months is considered great tenure. Not so with law firms; they can be quite old-fashioned. When I interviewed for my current job, I had considerable prejudice to overcome because of my recent job history (and this after good tenure for 10 years prior to that transitional 2).

Cathy, you may also be running into trouble because you've been out 2 years. Maybe not so much because of the unemployment, but just because you've been out of the legal field for 2 years. Legal HR managers and recruiters have this notion that you fall behind if you're out of the game. I don't think this is really true, but that's what I hear over and over.
~~~~~~~
Kelly Thanks for your informative insight. I am starting to suspect that is the reason why I cannot seem to obtain one but was not sure because being out of a job for the past 2 yrs does not suggest that I have lost focus regarding my expertise because in the mean time while going through the process of obtaining a job I am on at least 10 NJ Court websites on a daily basis in an effort to keep abreast of any new procedures/rules/regulations and attending Legal Secretaries meetings and/or seminars bi-weekly. Hence cannot believe that these many LawFirms that I have forwarded my resume cannot see that they would indeed make money from my diverse services in light of the fact that I am capable of assisting up to 3 attorneys on a daily basis and am very anxious to get back to work. I think that is what they should be focusing upon rather than why I have been out of work for 2 yrs. My biggest issue with staying on board for many years with a particular law firm is that I have learned that many of them I assistbecome very unprofessional and tend to forget that s/harass of any type should not be taking place so this is what I have to go through with them in order to stay on board for yrs.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

87 months ago

Half Eagle in Dallas, Texas said:

.......not so with law firms; they can be quite old-fashioned. When I interviewed for my current job, I had considerable prejudice to overcome because of my recent job history (and this after good tenure for 10 years prior to that transitional 2).

_____________________________________________________________

I'm going through that right now. I did operate my own business (from a two-office suite, not my house) for 6 1/2 years until the building was sold and is now being converted to live-work lofts.

I wish I thought of law firms as being old-fashioned. I consider myself to be "old school." Thus, I do not scream, have temper tantrums, and/or indulge in language that makes one sound like the lowest strata of ghetto hood rat. I also am a stickler for doing things according to what the court is requiring. I can't count the number of people I have seen ignore court directives, or fail to respond to discovery in a timely manner and end up paying monetary sanctions.

I remember my early bosses. They were dignified people. Some of these people practicing law now should be on the Jerry Springer show.

It's been awhile since I've seen any type of s/harass. What I usually see is childishness and abusive behavior towards support staff.

I'm glad I'm getting interviews. My cover letter states: "Professional environment desired, adult behavior mandatory."

I don't want to be bothered with drama and nonsense. I have seen people put up with years of abuse. It's truly detrimental to one's physical and mental health.

The excessive use of the "F" word makes me wonder if there is some sort of physical problem. Hey, I'm not a doctor. Go see one.

I was one of the first people in the country to learn e-filing in 1999. At a conference at the US District Court in 2004 (a year after it became mandatory), there were still lawyers wanting to see if they could get a "waiver."

Procrastination is not cool.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

87 months ago

This seems to be more of a site for lawyers than support staff.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

87 months ago

So that no one thinks that I have lost my mind, this is the post I was responding to:

"You can find Latest Law jobs from this website. It has some great articles to read from that will help you in your job.

www.bcgsearch.com"

It posted here instead of to the jobs board.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

87 months ago

Dyann in Lake Mary, Florida said: Yes, regarding your difficulty finding a job.

Actually, I haven't had difficulty finding jobs. I am having difficulty finding jobs w/o drama and nonsense.

I'm way too old for a lot of foolishness.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

87 months ago

It's really a shame. I have seen some bright young people take entry level positions and achieve the level of disgust it took me 26 years to arrive at. Most of the associations have trouble attracting younger people because they quickly decide that they will not remain in the legal field.

I worked for a very nice lady who died last year from complications of cancer. There are still some decent people in the field - however, their support staff has no intentions of ever going anywhere.

I'm considering doing temp work exclusively and trying to get my business going again if I can find affordable office space. I had a really nice two-office suite in a downtown area conveniently located to freeway access and public transporation. Unfortunately, a developer is converting the building into live-work condos beginning at 1.5 million (just slightly out of range of my pocketbook)

Besides doing contract work for attorneys, I was assisting people who were pro se with their paperwork. In California, it's called being a Legal Document or Unlawful Detainer Assistant.

More and more people are going it on their own, some for reasons of cost and some because they can't stand lawyers. I was amazed at the number of customers I had who actually could afford lawyers but had been condescended to or insulted and then decided to take advantage of the numerous self-help clinics that courts in California offer and then proceed on their own.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

87 months ago

Cathy in New Jersey said: The money I was making was between $25.00 - $30.00 per hour and the practicing attorneys each paid for delivery of the work to and from my home to their offices as well as any supplies I may have needed.

how would you feel about working off-site perhaps at your home. You can still make the $$$$ and keep within your expertise. I.

_____________________________________________________

I was doing contract work for attorneys and persons who were self-represented for about 6 1/2 years. At the time I had a two office suite in a downtown area. How did you like working from your home? I've always liked to keep work and home separate. I do have a small home office now. Just not sure I'd want attorneys coming here.

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

Deborah James in Newark, California

87 months ago

Hi Melanie:

I am actually temping at a very nice Probate and Estate Planning firm. It's kind of a haul from my house (I don't drive - so it's bus and BART), but this reminds me of my old firms. In fact, a retired judge came into the office yesterday who remembered me from my early boses. The father of the attorney here was friends with my first boss, so maybe I'll get this position and knows a lot of the people I started working with.

The commute isn't that bad, I'm just learning the routes. It's a reverse commute so it's not very crowded, and I get to catch up on my reading.

Sorry you're having that experience. It has really changed since I started 26 years ago. Have you joined Legality? It's a list serv for legal secretaries started by a reader of this blog who's also in Texas.

Here's the link - cut and paste it into your browser:

finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/legality/?yguid=126017540

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

Deborah James in Newark, California

87 months ago

I would say that if you find yourself with a staff-friendly, pleasant workplace - take the cut in pay and enjoy being less stressed out. Money isn't everything. Health is.

___________________________________________________

I definitely agree with this. The place I am temping at (this is a temp to perm position) is very nice. It's a small office, so the pay would be less than what I've been getting, but I haven't heard anyone fly off the handle, curse, or indulge in any type of toxic behavior.

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

Relieved in Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

87 months ago

I'm inclined to think there may be justice after all. The legal secretarial grapevine being what it is, I've heard that the person responsible for so many age/FMLA firings where I used to work is now on the block herself. I can't think of a more deserving person! It's too bad that lawyers have to have 3 or 4 wakeup calls from the EEOC before they finally decide that maybe there's a problem.

I've loved working in law and have had the good fortune to have worked for some wonderful people over the years; but when a rotten person gets in a firm and creates mayhem everybody suffers. Don't know at my age whether I'll ever go back into law again - at least I won't pay allegiance to a mega-firm!

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

Nicky in United Kingdom

87 months ago

Hi i have an interview for legal secretary on monday, could anyone help me with interview tips and stuff i could really do with the job and i hate interviews.

please help!!

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

Half Eagle in Dallas, Texas

87 months ago

Nicky in United Kingdom said: Hi i have an interview for legal secretary on monday, could anyone help me with interview tips and stuff i could really do with the job and i hate interviews.

please help!!

Nicky, there are some interview tips on my blog. I'm in the USA, but I don't think there's a lot of difference. My blog is:

www.lawyersrighthand.com

For more interview tips that aren't specific to legal secretaries, try The Brazen Careerist:

blog.penelopetrunk.com/

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

Half Eagle
www.lawyersrighthand.com

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

Pat in Morristown, New Jersey

87 months ago

I want to become a legal sec, can someone guide me please. No agencies have been of any help finding me a job. I am currenlty working for a security company doing credit work.

Thank you

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

Deborah James in Newark, California

87 months ago

Pat in Morristown, New Jersey said: I want to become a legal sec, can someone guide me please. No agencies have been of any help finding me a job. I am currenlty working for a security company doing credit work.

Thank you

_________________________________________________________________

What are your computer skills like? A lot of people who have secretarial experience in other fields have superior computer skills in softwares that lots of legal secretaries are unfamiliar with. There is a training class at this website:

www.universalclass.com

The cost is $75.00 for the course and certificate. Have you tried applying to law firms that specialize in collection work? Your background sounds like a good fit for that type of work.

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

vee in Chatsworth, California

87 months ago

hello everyone,

im just here for some advice.. seems to be that everyone here has been in this field for a very long time..

im 19 years old i've always been interested in the law but i never considered going to law school or anything..i did think about going for paralegal though... things didn't quite work out that way while i was full time in college i was a receptionist for a doctors office so i got stuck in the medical field.. i have been going billing and coding for a billing company... i recently got promoted to become and account representitive for all Personal Injury Cases.. i took the position so i have been dealing with alot of attornys and legal secretaries.. settling cases etc... im still interested in working for a law firm one day.. ofcourse one that specializes in plaintiff/Personal Injury... what do you guys think my chances are of working for agood attorney even though i dont have much experience but since i been getting paid well where i am i know its gonna be hard start from the bottom somewhere ... do any of you have any experience working for a law firm that is most relevant to my career switch.. i considered taking a few law/legal classes @ a local community college... any feedback is greatly appriciate... thanks in advance :)

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

Deborah James in Newark, California

87 months ago

do any of you have any experience working for a law firm that is most relevant to my career switch.. i considered taking a few law/legal classes @ a local community college... any feedback is greatly appriciate... thanks in advance :)

__________________________________________________________________

Your background is a good fit for a PI or Medical Malpractice firm. You might want to work on your grammar and spelling a bit, law firms are notoriously picky. Do take classes if they are offered at the local community college.

Are they classes for paralegals or legal secretaries?

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

vee in Van Nuys, California

87 months ago

thanks for your response, its a Legal Assistant course theres alot of legal terminology and preparing of documentations etc... how long would you think it'd take me to be fully ready to consider even applying either as a legal receptionist or legal assistant... and what would the right and smart steps would be.. agencies? im only worried that they'd throw me off cause im switching to something i dont really have any experience in. and since i work full time @ my position now im not left with much time to do any volunteer work or anything.. i guess its either get lucky and start somewhere where their willing to teach me and hopefuly their will be lost of room to grow etc.

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

Relieved in Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

87 months ago

vee in Van Nuys, California said: thanks for your response, its a Legal Assistant course theres alot of legal terminology and preparing of documentations etc... how long would you think it'd take me to be fully ready to consider even applying either as a legal receptionist or legal assistant... and what would the right and smart steps would be.. agencies? im only worried that they'd throw me off cause im switching to something i dont really have any experience in. and since i work full time @ my position now im not left with much time to do any volunteer work or anything.. i guess its either get lucky and start somewhere where their willing to teach me and hopefuly their will be lost of room to grow etc.

I agree with Deborah in CA. Good grammar, spelling, and punctuation are very high on the legal "must have" list. Math skill is another thing. The larger firms generally give typing tests (most requiring 65-75 wpm) and tests for grammar, spelling and punctuation during the application process. You will also have to know how to use computer programs, learn new programs quickly, how to use both fax machines and computer faxing. The list goes on and on. It's an extremely high pressure job in which you will have to be able to turn on a dime and shift gears from one project to another while keeping on top of both at the same time in order to meet deadlines ... that means (usually) everything a lawyer gives a secretary is in crisis mode ... whether that's really the case or not. It's a tough and demanding job.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

87 months ago

vee in Van Nuys, California said: thanks for your response, its a Legal Assistant course theres alot of legal terminology and preparing of documentations etc... how long would you think it'd take me to be fully ready to consider even applying either as a legal receptionist or legal assistant... and what would the right and smart steps would be.. agencies?

______________________________________________________________

Take the course. Are you sure it's not a paralegal course? The terms "Legal Assistant" and "Paralegal" are sometimes used interchangeably. In any case, it's a good foundation. Many legal secretaries have paralegal certificates.

I've seen quite a few firms pick up entry level or trainee legal secretaries. Not many people are pursuing this as a career anymore. I think your background as an account representative in PI is excellent.

It will probably take you at least a year. Computer literacy is very important. The Legal Assistant course will cover what you need to know about formatting legal documents. And the course will undoubtedly help you in your current job.

Also, there is a new list serv for legal secretaries and aspiring legal secretaries. Consider joining. There are a lot of people there who will help and encourage you. Cut and paste this link into your browser.

finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/legality/?yguid=126017540

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

Lost in Space in Atlanta, Georgia

86 months ago

I have been a legal secretary for 25+ years and my advice to those who want to become one, is not to become one. I believe the field is slowly but surely becoming obsolete. Technology is allowing new graduates to be fully self-sufficient and the larger firms are implementing that practice. I just hope the full-scaled transition does not happen during in the remainder of my working 10-year lifetime.

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

Deborah James in Oakland, California

86 months ago

This was brought up in a NALS online discussion group a couple of years ago. It really depends on the firm. It is advisable to also have paralegal skills as well.

What's on its way out is secretaries who transcribe and do menial clerical tasks.

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

Lost in Space in Atlanta, Georgia

86 months ago

I believe just the opposite Deborah in Oakland.

I believe the jobs left for the near future will be those of lower paying suburbia clerical positions -- those one to two man operations. With voice mail, e-mail, lexis, on-line filings, and the industry and court systems going paperless, the lawyer assistance needs will be limited, along with the payscale.

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

Relieved in Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

86 months ago

Melanie Lazo in Spring, Texas said: My opinion is that the paralegal is a dying profession. I believe firms will start looking for more qualified secretaries that can handle the paralegal duties.

Maybe I'm just getting old and crabby, but I don't think paralegals are a dying breed. They may look for more secretaries, but I'm not certain they're going to find more qualified secretaries - most of the new hires I've seen have been 20 year-olds who can barely tie their shoe laces let alone take on legal secretarial or paralegal jobs. Firms are looking for much lower pay rates, but they're going to get what they choose to pay for.

Paralegals do a great deal of "leg work" for attorneys and know a lot of the detail stuff that attorneys don't keep track of - deadlines, filing rules, etc.

Even though there are a growing number of e-filings, I can only think back some 20 years when legal secretaries panicked over computers and the "paperless" jobs meaning loss of employment. The reverse happened. The ease of correcting things by computer generated quadruple the paper work with edits upon edits upon more edits.

And, then, there is the fact that a lot of lawyers are such prima donnas. They thrive on being catered to and adored!

I think it will still be awhile before legal secretaries and paralegals are totally phased out, if ever. But it has reached a point where those jobs are not the professional jobs they used to be.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

86 months ago

I think it will still be awhile before legal secretaries and paralegals are totally phased out, if ever. But it has reached a point where those jobs are not the professional jobs they used to be.

______________________________________________________________

I agree with your analysis. In the large firms however, a growing number of paralegals serve more in a "consultant" type role, in that they have degrees in engineering, finance, nursing, etc.

In smaller firms, they almost always want someone who can do both jobs. I was cross-trained as a "hybrid" when I started 26 years ago and have attorney attestation (required by California Business & Professions Code) as to competency to perform paralegal tasks, yet I am currently working on a paralegal certificate.

I have done both jobs and have had jobs where both skill sets (secretary and paralegal) were utilized.

I do see a lot of people hiring younger persons to be legal secretaries. It is usually a big disaster. Most of them are simply picking up $$$ while they prepare for other jobs and they rarely have the interest and want to stick with it or move on to become paralegals.

On the flip side, there are people who are interested in pursuing a legal secretary or paralegal career and are appalled by the often disrespectful and shabby treatment they are accorded - so they leave.

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

86 months ago

I think it will still be awhile before legal secretaries and paralegals are totally phased out, if ever.

______________________________________________________________

Here are some interesting job outlook websites:

www.calmis.ca.gov/file/occguide/legalsec.pdf

tinyurl.com/2b95bs

www.collegegrad.com/careers/admin37.shtml

www.bls.gov/oco/ocos151.htm

I just posted this topic to the NALS online community - I'll be interested to get their input.

Here are some general information websites useful to secretaries and administrative assistants:

www.gcflearnfree.org/index.aspx?referrerID=264

content.monster.com/articles/3488/17012/1/home.aspx

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

Kristin in Oakland, California

86 months ago

Hi!

I'm reading how very supportive you all are to each other and wonder if I could perhaps see if you can help me with how to get a job in my field? I'm a (legal) contracts coordinator. I have not learned yet how to draft contracts or negotiate but want to learn. Currently, in my neck of the woods (SF Bay area) it is really dry for jobs in my field. I've been looking for 4 months now. Am signed up with 8 agencies. I like what I do and the money is good (last job made 60k).
I want to know how contracts Administrators learn to draft contracts and to negotiate? If could do either of those then I COULD have a job right now.
Any advice?
Kristin

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

86 months ago

Sorry, I don't have a clue about any of that. You might join ParalegalCity or ParalegalGateway and post your question there. These are Yahoo list servs.

However, there is a job in Emeryville for a Contracts Coordinator:

sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/lgl/332891394.html

Good luck to you!!!

Deb

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

Kristin in Oakland, California

86 months ago

saw it. unfortunately, it's a little higher level than I am (and I already applied to it and apparently they weren't interested). But thanks for the idea to join the listserv, appreciate it!

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

86 months ago

There is a job fair in San Francisco at Fort Mason. Beach & Marina Streets from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. I am planning to attend from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 or 11:00 a.m.

If you decide to go, bring lots of copies of your resume. I am also registering with Remedy Staffing. They are at 595 Market Street, are you registered with them?

www.remxofficestaff.com/

Call me if you decide to go to the Job Fair. Email me offlist and I'll give you my cell phone number. debjame@yahoo.com

Regards,

Deborah James

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

Lost in Space in Atlanta, Georgia

86 months ago

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

Kristin in Oakland, California

86 months ago

Hi!

thanks for writing. Why did you suggest the software? not sure. but curious! :) This is a software for businesses to download for their companies to use for contract management. Open to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.

thanks!
Kristin

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

vee in Van Nuys, California

86 months ago

hi guys im from southern califonia.. los angeles... i was wondering if anyone knows a good law agency im looking to start as an entry level law clerk in plaintiff Personal Injury i just have medical billing and PI collections experience.. maybe an office assistant and eventually work my way up... open for any advice...

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

Michelle - Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia

86 months ago

Hi! I'm 44 years old and have been working the legal field for 26 years (legal secretary for 22 years and paralegal for 4 years). Oh, yes ... the myth that legal secretaries will eventually become obsolete. Well, I initially heard that urban legend in 1982, when my first boss installed his first computer system. He pointed to the computer and chortled, "Legal secretaries will be obsolete by the year 2000, thanks to this piece of equipment." Ten years later, in 1992, I asked a law firm administrator if she believed that. She laughed and said, "Hardly."

Now, 15 years later, it appears that the admins. was right and the attorney was wrong. I'm being told by recruiters in Atlanta that there are too few qualified legal secretaries for the jobs available. They are offering me $1,500 to refer a legal secretarial friend to open positions, provided that friend stays on the job a miniumum of four months. Paralegals in Atlanta appear to have a harder time getting placed than legal secretaries. Fewer people are opting to go into the legal secretarial field due to a perceived lack of prestige. Meanwhile, the older legal secretaries are retiring, thereby creating a gap in the job market. To compound the problem, there are fewer legal secretarial training programs available these days. (This is ironic, because I feel legal secretaries have to know * SO MUCH MORE * than they did when I began working in the field in 1981.) On the other hand, paralegal training is a typical follow-up degree for dissatisfied people with liberal arts degrees. Paralegal training programs are readily available in metropolitan areas.

Our firm recently pink-slipped two paralegals and two legal secretaries. It took the paralegals 3x as long
to find new positions compared to the secretaries. One of the secretaries was offered a job the first hour of her interview!

Law work is demanding, but I love it and am paid well for it. I have $250,000 in my 401K saved up, thanks to law!

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

Deborah James in Alameda, California

86 months ago

Maybe I should move to Atlanta. I have also worked in the legal field since 1981. I was on a job that ended because the previous Office Manager had a sudden change in her personal circumstances and needed to return. I've been looking for about a month and a half now.

You're right, very few people are opting to become legal secretaries and there are very few training programs. There is a program at the college in the city I live in (Alameda, California) and a program at Skyline College in San Bruno (the Peninsula area of Northern California - Silicon Valley).

Have you joined Kelley's Legality group on Yahoo yet?

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

Ann in Missouri in Saint Louis, Missouri

85 months ago

I am a 51-year-old professional with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and recent experience in the accounting industry which is mostly in the marketing administrative area. I have worked for a "big 4" firm as well as another leading firm. Marketing is not the most secure area to be in, and I have been thinking about the possibility of becoming a legal secretary since I type 75 net wpm, and I have good writing skills. However, I have absolutely no legal experience. I tried to move into another administrative assistant position recently, but the accounting firm still wanted to use me as their "marketer" even though I told them I just wanted to work as a traditional administrative assistant (still doing some marketing projects, but not be their only marketing resource). Because of my experience, I believe it just puts more pressure on me to do both highly-detailed jobs, and this creates burn out as well. I have always heard that accountants were much nicer than lawyers, but I have about 8 years of experience with these types of firms, and I have been noticing a definite lack of respect for professionalism in the accounting industry as well. This is very disappointing to me since I worked full time for years and attended night school to get my degree. Your message posts make me believe that it would almost be a waste of my time to try to make a career change since the problems I have encountered before will be just as bad (if not worse) in the legal profession. It doesn't matter how much a person likes the work if they have to deal with arrogant people who disrespect them. Then, there's aways the age-discrimination issues, which seems to be alive and well even though I keep hearing that there's a labor shortage. Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.

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

Deborah James in Fremont, California

85 months ago

Have you tried getting on with corporate legal departments or firms that specialize in business law or accounting? It seems like you have the ideal background for it.

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

Ann in Missouri in Saint Louis, Missouri

85 months ago

I have been working for accounting firms, and I'm looking to make a change. However, I never thought about corporate legal departments. I would think that they will also require someone with a legal background, however.

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

Page:   1  2  3  4  Next »   Last »

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