What do you enjoy most about your litigation paralegal career?

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What do you enjoy most about being a litigation paralegal? What do you dislike the most? Is it challenging? Are there many opportunities to learn and advance?

What keeps you at your job?

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dh in Northern CA, California

81 months ago

Host said: What do you enjoy most about being a litigation paralegal?

Here's a response I posted to someone asking about being a legal secretary:
I didn't enjoy anything about being a legal secretary. There is no room for advancement, no opportunity for growth. It's not like you can work hard and get promoted to paralegal and then attorney. Considering the fact that it's a dead-end job, attorneys expect too much from their secretaries. A lot of them are high maintenance and expect to be catered to. They're notorious for dropping projects off at their secretaries' desks at 4:45, telling them, "This needs to be done before you go." This is very selfish and inconsiderate; yet it happens all the time. Overtime won't get you anywhere - like I said, you can't get promoted anywhere, and overtime makes very little difference on your paycheck after taxes. As a legal secretary, you are just a puppet on strings. You are there to help this guy get rich. You stroke his clients and cater to his every needs. His business won't thrive without a secretary; yet they will pay you the least amount of money possible just enough to keep you there. We've all heard the saying about how employers hate employees who do just enough to keep their jobs. Well you can't expect more than that when they pay barely enough to get the employee to come back. And attorneys will milk you for everything they can get. So to answer your questions, I enjoyed NOTHING about this line of work. What I disliked most was the fact that company loyalty doesn't pay. The raises don't keep up with the cost of living even if you get a great review, and when you work hard, they reward you with more responsibilies but not pay to go with those extra responsibilities. The only thing that's challenging is getting along with the foul-tempered attorneys. Opportunties to learn, yeah, and you'll become pretty jaded and cynical in the process. No opportunities to advance - dead end.

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dh in Northern CA, California

81 months ago

Here's another response I posted to someone a few days ago on another thread:

I have my paralegal certificate from UCLA; I've never used it. Entry level jobs were paying $12-$14/hr at the time, and I was already making $14; so I took a word processing job at $18/hr and moved on to secretarial crap thereafter. I didn't do the proper research before entering the industry and grew to thoroughly hate it very quickly. For me, earning my paralegal certificate was $3k down the drain. I had no coworkers - neither paralegals nor secretaries - who liked their jobs. Litigation is by far the worst; that's where you'll find the most foul-temepered attys. My close friend, a paralegal in Orange County, wrote me recently, "I'd rather burn myself alive than choose this profession all over again." After 5 1/2 years in the field, I could take it no more. I moved to Northern CA where cost of living is cheaper. I'm a full time student and work 20 hrs/week. I'm depleting my entire life savings and accruing massive debt at 40 when I should be saving for retirement so that I can retire at a decent age. With this debt, I'll work until I'm 70. I don't care; I want to live the rest of my life having a job - a career - I enjoy. Besides, paralegal and secretary jobs don't pay enough to prepare a decent retirement anyways. It's nothing but a JOB - Just Over Broke. I suggest you develop a CAREER instead.

Any nonlawyer position is dead-end. There's no room for advancement, and contrary to popular belief, the pay is NOT good. Even if it was good pay, if you hate what you do, the money doesn't matter. Take a look at other threads on this website, especially the secretary threads. My advice is not only should you reconsider litigation but reconsider entering this industry altogether.

Sorry for the cut and past. I'm on this website so much and it seems I'm writing the same thing over and over again. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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dh in Northern CA, California

81 months ago

Also, go to www.vault.com and read the occupational surveys submitted by secretaries and paralegals. Talk to people who have worked in the industry, and listen to their experiences. One woman on one of these posts said she considered becoming a paralegal, but every paralegal she knew changed careers and got out.

NOTHING could keep me in this line of work. I would NOT do it for $100K a year. Secretaries and paralegals don't get paid well anyways. And even if you do make good money, if you hate what you do, the money doesn't matter.

www.vault.com/nr/surveys/occsurveylistsdetail.jsp?function_id=146&occ_name=Law

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

I was a Paralegal for 10 years. I have been searching the Internet for reason why I failed in this career. It was not me. I did not have attitude and psychological problems and inability to get along with others - as my family claimed. Finally, I know from the response - I was a Litigation Paralegal. Really can't say if it is any better if working Wills and Trust (the area I wanted to go into). Your first job determines where you will be- My first job was Litigation- That was the only job that I was not "stressed out" of my gord and my boss was fair. Of course, no benefits and $11/hr. So I moved on after almost 2 years there - and the nightmare began and finally my demise.
GOT creamed in my last job.......Worked for 2 Partmnrs. One Partner was no problem. The other one is your worst-nightmare attorney. Unrealistic expectations, unreasonable, spouted negativity into my office 2x a week (never knew when), and flew off the handle "acting like a psycho" over nothing, and he created conflict where there was none. (had co. paid health benefits, 3weeks pay for vaca,sick days, matching IRA by 3rd month, pay was $35K, hours 9-5) And I knew my job no problem. By month 5, my boss had turned me into a nervous wreck - from all of the above nightmare traits. Additionally, he kept coming into my office saying, "need more work". I was already working at a fast productive pace, go any faster you get frazled and make mistakes. Finally by mo 6, (a week vacation would not have been enough) I was out of there with 3 weeks additional pay. Good for my health - bad for my finances. Bottom line, next job I got, boss was OK, but my "position was eliminated" after 4 months. I never go back on my feet. My family carried out a "destruction of me" for over 13 months. and I finally had a complete nervous breakdown. I am no longer able to work. FINDING
this comentary on the TRUTH of these Litigation jobs - has finally put my poor mind to rest. It wa not me, I was competant. Just picked wrong

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cindy in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: kmm in Wilmington, laware: "I was a Paralegal for 10 years. I have been searching the Internet for reason why I failed in this career. It was not me. I did not have attitude and psychological problems and inability to get along with others - as my family claimed."

Great post, kmm! Tell your family I said it is full of sh!t! Moreover, you did not fail. You were successful for ten years until everything ended.

DPL in Denver, Co: THank your for your response. Here is the full skinny:Job#1 job.- sole practitioner attorney office. 1st 14 mo. no problem.even sml raise. Then, newby, young punk attorney enters and he "bullys" me out of my job, 6 mo later. Big boss, he favors the men, not me the female.

Job#2 - sml firm. Now I really have the "crazy" boss. the psycho. 3 mo later, I am a nervouse wreck. Luckly, former female employee calls me, tells me "its not me, its the boss, you are in a bad place" and gets me hooked up with legal temp assignments.
Fast forward 16mo later: Job #3- fly to Miami (live in DE) for job interview. Attorney been nice on phone for 3 interviews. Go there, get hired and move. Boss personality changes to Mr. Dictator. Then he trys starting arguments with me at end of day. I know my days are numbered, stay cool and - He has me out of there in 10 days, yes, fired.
Job#4 - Hired in med. size firm- by nice-personality happy female attorney. 1st day of work, find out additionally working for another female attorney as well, who hates me on 1st meeting and finally gets me out the door, aftr scolding me ev week for nothing, I stay cool, then she does the "set-up" and I am fired in 30 days.
Job#4 - Hired by co, in legal dept. There for 6 mo. Got mixed messages constantly from bosses. Was enrolled in health benefits, got $1,200 x-mas bonus then out the door in January with 1 mo severence.
Job#5 - Hired in legal for new co. No problem with my boss. Co. unable to make payroll.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: I had only the two jobs I wrote about, above. I held on to my second job, which was litigation, for as long as I could. I wished I could have told that attorney to take his job and shove it, but I had to keep the job. Around here paralegal jobs are hard to get and I am older, which compounds the problem. The day that attorney stopped employing me I was exhausted from the hours, stress and the strained relationship. I was burned out and not well.

After nearly seven years of litigation while trying to figure out how to relate to that SOB, I had serious misgivings about returning to law altogether. I've had two jobs that excited me, but my misgivings remained. As a person ages, a person's BS tolerance decreases.

In any event, without question you gave it a fair shot. Good luck with your future plans. Your family has no idea with what you were dealing.

Yes, I gave it my fair shot. How not one of those jobs turned out be be One Job I could stay at - still blows my mind. CAN A PERSON really have that many bad breaks. Or is it me. AND, I cannot analyze the past any more, because I come up with no answer other than what wrote. That's what I thought When I went out the door - and years later, Unbelievable bad breaks in a row . NO WONDER I question myself was I a Failure??? A screw - up. Or got a "bad deck of cards". Overall it says, person cannot keep a job - just has excuses. I see that overview. WHAT SAY YOU?

You lasted 7 years at your Litigation job. I personally do not know of anyone who has been a Paralegal for more than 10, and of those all were females who got married. BUT, I do clearly relate to the sour taste it has left on you, as you ask - do I really want to go back and get beat up some more.

My family's response was "OTHER" people keep their jobs. I cannot disagree that statment. Kindly ask for one more word from you DPL.

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Deborah James in San Francisco, California

80 months ago

After 27 years of working in the legal field; I cannot help agree with Displaced more. There are some seriously disturbed personalities employed in the legal field.

My early jobs were all for attorneys who'd been around for a long time and knew what they were doing. They were also not emotional wrecks, which is a lot of what I see lately.

I'm contemplating a move out of the field also. Enough is just enough.

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dh in Northern CA, California

80 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: My family's response was "OTHER" people keep their jobs. I cannot disagree that statment. Kindly ask for one more word from you DPL...

Hi KMM - It's the attys who are crazy, not you. What are you doing now? I was a legal secretary/word processor for 5 1/2 years. I had just over 3 years' experience when I got hired at my last firm as a transaction secretary, and boy what a difference from litigation. The environment was actually pleasant most of the time, but after 3 years of lit, I was burnt out and sick to death of attys period. As with a new toy, the excitement of a new job wore off, and reality hit me that I'm still someone's puppet on string, working a dead-end job going nowhere. Plus I was starting to get pressure to stay late - I always refused to work overtime - and sometimes I wondered how thin is the ice on which I'm skating??

I was probably a year into the job when I starting having crying spells. I had to hold it in on my way to work because I didn't want to show up with red eyes; but on my way home I just let it go. Sometimes, I would be vacuuming or doing dishes at home and then stop what I was doing and go lay on my bed and cry. I did that for a year. As a young person, I had big plans for a career with room for growth and making decent money, and in my late 30's I was in a dead-end situation without a college degree. I was afraid to return to school at my age, thinking no one would want to hire me, and I was always in tears. Poor planning and many bad decisions got me here.

I confided in a coworker who suffered from depression and also survived a suicide attempt. She told me I should return to school because I will sorry if I don't. She also told me that I, too, suffer from depression and that returning to school may not help because what I need is an "inside" job. I knew what she meant. [continued next...]

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dh in Northern CA, California

80 months ago

[continued from previous]

But I moved away and returned to school. I work part time and take care of my teenaged daughter. We are broke, and I never have money to give my daughter for extra fun things. I can't provide for her like I used to. My mother buys her dresses for the school dances. But I never had a crying spell again. My "depression" magically disappeared. My skin cleared up.

It took just 3 years of litigation for me to develop a severe hatred for the industry such that by the time I got to my last job, a firm with mostly nice attys, I still couldn't stand it. Like Displaced Legal Pro, as time went on, I also became less tolerant. I got out of that place while my bridged were still intact.

I don't know what you are doing now, but I hope you find something you really enjoy. It's sometimes hard to do that because maybe what you love doesn't pay enough to live on. I know a lot of jobs that appealed to me when I first moved up here that I couldn't afford to take. I hope you will have the support of your family. Good Luck

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: [continued from previous]

But I never had a crying spell again. My "depression" magically disappeared. My skin cleared up.

It took just 3 years of litigation for me to develop a severe hatred for the industry such that by the time I got to my last job, a firm with mostly nice attys, I still couldn't stand it. Like Displaced Legal Pro, as time went on, I also became less tolerant. I got out of that place while my bridged were still intact.

I don't know what you are doing now, but I hope .the support of your family. Good Luck

Thank you "dh in CA". I no longer work. All the stress and the emotional rollercoaster of being in-between jobs took its toll on my health. And my Family played quite a part in the scenario also. My sister worked at Hughes Aircraft 10 years - B.A., M.B.. - final pay $55k.She got out when she was 33 and married. SHe worked in the '80- great economy time.
As for whether you made any bad choices, be careful with that - as we do not really know what the law firm environment is like before we enter. ANd starting out with the ba attorneys - hense the depression and crying spells.
The good news for you is that you are only 30 years of age. 2-3 years from now you could easily be in a job that is tolerable and has advancement. There is much hope for you. I have an associate Paralegal friend, who in her late 20's (she waws married) quit her 37K legal secretary job after 9 mo. - because she came home "wiped out" every night. Like you, she moved onto something else. Other jobs - Commercial Loan officers at banks pay 40k - 55k., and many bank jobs require no college education. If you are a good secretary, admin and sec positions for the CEO and other top dogs pay really well. Thats all I know. You do have lots of Hope ahead soon - hang in there now paycheck to paycheck - and find a nice husband with a good job. Otherwise its too hard and not fun.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: Thank you "dh in CA". The good news for you is that you are only 30 years of age. 2-3 years from now you could easily be in a job that is tolerable and has advancement. There is much hope for you.

Sorry dh. You still have lots of Hope at 40. Do not think about the debt - it will drain you. Exercise for health and your looks, take care of skin, nails and always have a good haircut. Be very well-groomed and fun when you go out. Hang out in affluent neighborhoods, go to their grocery store, etc. Point - hang out where the affluent are, stay fit and well groomed, and fnd a nice husband with a good job- it makes life a lot easier. THat is part of yuor job, along with the paying job. ALL my Best. You still have hope.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said:
I confided in a coworker who suffered from depression and also survived a suicide attempt. She told me I should return to school because I will sorry if I don't. She also told me that I, too, suffer from depression and that returning to school may not help because what I need is an "inside" job. I knew what she meant. [continued next...]

hey dh - Hum- "inside" job. anything to do with husband? Did I crack the "code" or no. just curious.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: To use a typical pleading phrase, I would reincorporate my post, above, as if fully set forth herein.
My relationship with that individual was my toughest and most frustrating in forty years of working. Workloads and situations are tough, but, yes, it's the attorneys. I reiterate my earlier comments that anyone who doesn't have titanium nerves and rhinoceros skin should stay away from law.

DLP - Love the use of legal jargin (I would reincorporate numbers 1 through 10.....) well done.
Titaniam and rhino-skin, well said. DO you think Nurses, engineers, workers with bosses in whatever profession - have as much difficulty with their bosses -and what differentiates our Lawyer bosses from other jobs - where I hear they now have the workload of 2 people since economic changes in 1990's.?
Have we become so isolatd in our Legal jobs - that we do not even know if our work environments are any different from others that have a Difficult Boss?

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Deborah James in San Francisco, California

80 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: Hi KMM - It's the attys who are crazy, not you.

_________________________________________

True, so true. I once stated to my former psychology professor who sometimes made expert witnesses: "It would be an interesting field, if they (attorneys) had it together." His response:

"That's the point: Most of them dont' have it together."

Coming from a person who'd been a psychologist for nearly 40 years and an expert witness for roughly 20 years; I've always remembered his comment.

Don't take it personally; it's them - NOT YOU (hard as they try to make you believe that bunk)

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: Hi KMM - It's the attys who are crazy, not you. What are you doing now? I was a legal secretary/word processor for 5 1/2 years.
I was probably a year into the job when I starting having crying spells. Poor planning and many bad decisions got me here.

Hello dh - I suspect that poor planning and bad decisions ruined my own life - [operative word "my"]. In general , I suppose it would mess up anyones life, at least temporarily.

MILLION Dollar Question: What differiates our lawyer-bosses from all of the rest of the so-called Difficult bosses in other field of work or professions?

How do we now that in a diffeent field e won't get the Difficult boss - who will make our lives, as described by many in these posts, unpleasant and miserable - the way the lawyer-boss does?

Anybody - jump in.

DLP - has said that in all of his 40 years of work (he is married) the last 7 years AS a Paralegal with the same boss-attorney was by far the worst. (not exact word.)

And some girls are able to live with it and have happy lives.

DLP - has commeted already.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Most lawyers, I am sure, have Type A personalities. Very intense.

Type-A indeed. Funny in that working for them, I became type-A in my own way, trying to make sure that my work came out right and the stress - and in general just do the job.

I like Donald Trump also...

So- since the person we interview with and offers the job to us and we will be working for that same person - who changes personalities when you work for them- How are we to know that we would find better success and at least just some bad days and more good days- than we have with the lawyer.

Is life just all a crap shoot?? (for most of us, discounting crack heads, people wiht lack of skills, etc.)

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

Deborah James in San Francisco, California said:

sorry mistake

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

Deborah James in San Francisco, California said: Don't take it so personally

Well, when your life is now in ruins - and I lost a lot of jobs - never for performance or doing something "wrong" in the way we think of - Some glad to be out of, due to stressful unreasonble boss, who will give you anxiety- a/k/a the Type A -
Bottomline - job loss=money loss=problems. Just the facts.
And I picked the career of a Paralegal- as I did no know what else to do- who knows why we get a Paralegal Certificate - probably because we believed we would get a job , career, whatever- and we never knew how difficult the legal environment was - havng not encountered it before.
I have asked many a Paralegal- what else can we do with our skills - that pays as least what we are making - so far , the answer is nothing - I interviewed for 3 jobs at different times of my so-called Paralegal career - thta stated legal skills in them and good pay - and I knew I could do them- Did not get the job-But that is me- if you had interviewed for same, you might get an offer.

Thus- the Million dollar question remains- Is life just a crap shoot?

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: kmm in Wilmington, Delaware: "So- since the person we interview with "

Of course you've heard everything about interviews being a two-way street. Firms are interviewing you and you are interviewing them. So, yeah, to a very large degree, it is a crapshoot.

At the interview they are putting on their personal best- as we are- Thus, we do not know what it is like until we start to work for them- No one is going to make negative comments, if you ask outside of the firm. Only people who know about the firm, are the people who work or worked there. As for questions- any difficulties are going to be sugar coated over- such as why the last per son is no longer here. The last place I worked looked great, met the staff, seemed fine was fine- the job description remained the same- the One Partner was just an unforseable trainwreck. AND, lets face it- how long can you hang without a job.A job is better than no job- some money is better than no money -- that deal.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: At the interview they are putting on their personal best- as we are- an unforseable trainwreck. AND, lets face it- how long can you hang without a job.A job is better than no job- some money is better than no money -- that deal.

DPL - I am gathering (not asking directly) that perhaps you have not been through a termination or downsize - When that happens, and if you are the sole supporter of yourself, (very bad for father of family) there is a nightmare of an emotional rollercoaster -plagued with both anxiety and depression.

I took too many roller coaster rides- and I support myself (just the facts, not about boo hoo) SO, when I run into job with co not making payroll, then slam into on paper a very good job, but unforseable trainwreck - (as happened to the previous Paralegal and his past 2 secretaries- you get the dirt when you are on the payroll) - and then position eliminated - ANd find yourself in job loss=money loss=problems . Your head is spinning and you just know that some people land on their feet, and get married and are have happy lives. Well, ......

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dh in Northern CA, California

80 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: hey dh - Hum- "inside" job. anything to do with husband? Did I crack the "code" or no. just curious.

Hi KMM - Thank you for your kind words above. No, no husband-divorced 15 years. While I think my life would be easier financially if I had someone, I doubt I'd be happy. I don't admire any married woman I know. I did, however, have the absolute best boyfriend - the nicest guy - I ever had in Orange County. We were together almost two years, and I hated the legal industry enough that I left him along with everyone else in order to move here to plan my career change, and that was painful. My last two years in OC were miserable, but I got thru it thanks to him.

I'm not kidding when I tell people that I gave up everything to get out of the legal industry.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: I did, however, have the absolute best boyfriend - the nicest guy - I ever had in Orange County. I am not kidding when I tell people that I gave up everything to get out of the legal industry.

WHat a -itch. You certainly gave up everything. Again - you still have hope for a better outcome.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

80 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: At the interview they are putting on their personal best- as we are-

Corrected thoughts - Often, I think they put on their personal best when they think they might be interested in you.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

79 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

[QUOTE "right decision to leave first firm, wrong decison to go to WI firm [QUOTE]

Hello DLP - Somtimes it is hard to know we made a bad choice. If yu had not taken the WI position, you might have been out of a job longer, as you have mentioned there are not a lot of paralegal jobs in Denver.

Probably - you "might" have been better of if you had changed jobs after 5 years - WHo really knows. Somtimes that is how the cards play out. Started out good, then just got a bad hand that put you out.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

79 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: And that's just it. Sometimes you must hold on to a job, if not for the pay but for the benefits, such as health insurance. Believe me, I wanted to stomp out of there many times. Doing so would have been a rash decision. The better decision was to hold on to the job for as long as possible - which I did.

Exactly, hold onto a job with benefits for as long as you can. Ain't that the truth. 7 years is a long time. I think that is about "burn-out" in paralegal lives. ha.

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ACICIS in Hammond, Indiana

75 months ago

What do you enjoy most about being a litigation paralegal? What do you dislike the most? Is it challenging? Are there many opportunities to learn and advance?

What keeps you at your job?

What I enjoy most about being a litigation paralegal is woking with the attorney on steps in litigation, from the complaint to discovery, witness preparation all the way to trial prep.

I've worked in a large firm for about 13 years, starting from the mailroom. I began my litigation career two years later as a project assistant. I had a great opportunity to see with my own eyes what paralegals do and the different ways they approached certain assignments. I was able to learn a great deal that way. When I got promoted to paralegal, I was well-trained to understand the different character types of alitigation attorney's and their work habits. I enjoy working with the attorney's I was fortunate to be assigned to. Made invaluable friends all the way to captial partners.

Working in Chicago the pay is between 35K - 100K depending on work experience. I currently do not have a paralegal certificate or undergrads degree, I was blessed to learn on the job. Now my second firm, which is a small firm. I will be making above the experience/education payscale. But I would have advanced my career into the management sector.

I like my job!!!

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

ACICIS in Hammond, Indiana said: What do you enjoy most about being a litigation paralegal? What do you dislike the most? Is it challenging? Are there many opportunities to learn and advance?

What keeps you at your job?

I've worked in a large firm for about 13 years, starting from the mailroom. I began my litigation career two years later as a project assistant. ... I got promoted to paralegal, I was well-trained .....
Working in Chicago the pay is between 35K - 100K depending on work experience. I currently do not have a paralegal certificate or undergrads degree.....I like my job!!!

Great report.

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Deborah James in Alameda, California

75 months ago

ACICIS in Hammond, Indiana said: I currently do not have a paralegal certificate or undergrads degree, I was blessed to learn on the job. Now my second firm, which is a small firm. I will be making above the experience/education payscale. But I would have advanced my career into the management sector.

I like my job!!!

_________________________________________

There actually are decent firms around. I really enjoyed my career during the first few years. Then I left a full time job that I'd held for 8 years to work temp and to devote to family responsibilities.

When I came back into the workforce fulltime, I started running into some really bizarre characters.

I too am "grandfathered in" as a paralegal, having received a lot of OJT as well as continuing education seminars.

I have a friend who's now been working for an attorney who'll retire (or die) soon (He's 99). She decided to leave because he asked her to cut back her hours to a schedule she couldn't afford as he winds down his practice. She had some interesting experiences as well. She was thrilled when he called her and asked her to come back and keep her full time schedule.

There are some good firms around, but they are few and far between. Most people hate working with attorneys

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Skyglider in Homewood, Illinois

75 months ago

What are my chances of working for a university as a paralegal? Does anyone have any ideas?

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Deborah James in Alameda, California

75 months ago

I sometimes see ads for paralegals at the University of California. I would guess you might try going to the website of various universities and checking out their job board. Did you paralegal school have a placement office? That might be a good place to check as well.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

They don't use paralegals at universities.

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Deborah in Alameda, California

75 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: They don't use paralegals at universities.

___________________________________________________

Are you sure? Most universities have legal departments. I know 2 people who works in UC's Office of the General as paralegals.

I've also sen ads for Golden Gate Law School for the legal department.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

75 months ago

Deborah in Alameda, California said: ___________________________________________________

Are you sure? Most universities have legal departments. I know 2 people who works in UC's Office of the General as paralegals.

I've also sen ads for Golden Gate Law School for the legal department.

DEBJam- CORRECTION to my comment.

My experience of universities is based on one larget university. I contacted one of the attorneys employed by the university - and he told me they do not employ Paralegals. He was very nice.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

69 months ago

dh in Northern CA, California said: Hi KMM - It's the attys who are crazy, not you. What are you doing now? I was a legal secretary/word processor for 5 1/2 years. I had just over 3 years' experience when I got hired at my last firm as a transaction secretary, and boy what a difference from litigation. The environment was actually pleasant most of the time, but after 3 years of lit, I was burnt out and sick to death of attys period. As with a new toy, the excitement of a new job wore off, and reality hit me that I'm still someone's puppet on string, working a dead-end job going nowhere. Plus I was starting to get pressure to stay late - I always refused to work overtime - and sometimes I wondered how thin is the ice on which I'm skating??

I was probably a year into the job when I starting having crying spells. I had to hold it in on my way to work because I didn't want to show up with red eyes; but on my way home I just let it go. Sometimes, I would be vacuuming or doing dishes at home and then stop what I was doing and go lay on my bed and cry. I did that for a year. As a young person, I had big plans for a career with room for growth and making decent money, and in my late 30's I was in a dead-end situation without a college degree. I was afraid to return to school at my age, thinking no one would want to hire me, and I was always in tears. Poor planning and many bad decisions got me here.

I confided in a coworker who suffered from depression and also survived a suicide attempt. She told me I should return to school because I will sorry if I don't. She also told me that I, too, suffer from depression and that returning to school may not help because what I need is an "inside" job. I knew what she meant. [continued next...]

This is an excellent post. Thank you dh for your candor on the real real.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

69 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: And that's just it. Sometimes you must hold on to a job, if not for the pay but for the benefits, such as health insurance. Believe me, I wanted to stomp out of there many times. Doing so would have been a rash decision. The better decision was to hold on to the job for as long as possible - which I did.

And that is the real real flip side to the coin - to change jobs after 5 years or stay where you are.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

69 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: ....because one can find oneself in a worse situation, even after performing all due diligence about a place. Sometimes one is better off staying put because the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.

Wow- I was just about to post the flaw in my theory. It was, if I was in a job for 5 years, and if I could handle the stress, i.e.not have the big meltdown- I would stay also, especially if I was of a certain age bracket. Example- if I was in my mid 30's- I would keep trying for a better job, benefits, pay, decent hours.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

What did I not like about my paralegal career:

Crazy attorneys that interrupt my abilities to function on the job. They are out there.

Female attorneys - was hired by one in all my interviews with female attorneys. SHe was nice and stayed nice. OTherwise, female attorneys are belchers to work for.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

I disliked the profession for myself, as I got 3 terminations in a 12 month period. Eventually, it cost me everthing. Being terminated or laid-off causes instability in your life. a/k/a, the roller-coaster ride (somtimes to hellooo) When you are going up and down emotionally, with all these job loses- so is your personal life.

Point- the para career can work - but only if you get good landings. With three (3) job losses in 12 months, not only is my resume reading "unstable" worker - no one is interested in looking at the car with "dents" in it - Me, the person, is becoming unstable. Too many ups and downs. Now it is costing me my personal life, as well.

Point - got to get a good landing, and stay, so if you do have to or want to move, you have a stable job history that will get you into interviews and land another job.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

Another dislike of the profession is the low-pay you have to start. OK- so you pay your dues for 1-2 years to get the experience. After that, it needs to bump up a lot, or you are floundering financially. It gets to you. Maybe you are not going backwards, but you sure as heck are not moving forward.

As to forward movement, got to land in a firm, corporation with a matching savings plan. That can mean you have to stay 2 years to reap the beneifts. THose matching savings plans are your future. Otherwise you have worked for nothing. I did a lot of that also. NOt good.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

What I disliked:

I will specifically speak of one Paralegal job in particular. FIrst it started out great. Worked for 2 partners, did one parters work in am, the other in the afternoon. I ran my own shop- whcih is exactly what they were looking for.

BIG DISLIKE: I did not expect to have the whip cracked on me 2x a week, every week, by one of the partners. I knew what I was doing hands down, and he knew it. ALL he cared about was getting the most work he could get out of me for his money. BS to him. I cannot operate that way. I resent being treated like that, besides it affected my abilities. I was by then 8 years experienced. Do not need a micro manager. IF I am suppose to run my own shop, then let me. Emergencies are a whole different deal and there were few, very few.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

I knew my job. I knew I had to do things. I don't need micromanagement to do them. But some attorneys feel the more they hassle their legal assistants to complete a task the faster it will be done. It doesn't always work that way, particularly if legal assistants must depend and rely on others to help them.

GReat Comments DLP.

(1) Micromanaging is counter productive. Once para is up to speed on job (takes 3 months) and you know what you are doing and, moreover, attorney knows you know what you are doing, and nothing is slipping thru the cracks,specifically deadlines, NAGGING and HASSSLING para is counter-productive.

(2) Service of process. Please. The attorney knows how that goes when the defendant is "ducking" service. Otherwise, if defendant gets served on 1st attempt, just need to make sure you do the follow-up deadlines. If they do not get served after time-period Complaint good, para has to resend to Prothonotary for "re-instatement". Again- attorney knows this. Nagging is not going to locate the "ducking" defendant any faster. Ususally you get reports of attempted service.

(cont'd)

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

(cont'd)

Demand Letters. That document should be a boiler plate document, hit save as. Leave bank for address, date, demand amount, and other particular. Why repeat the wheel?

Lawyers just do not think correctly when dealing with the paralegal. The ones that nagg, hassle, crack whips regularly for more production than is realistic- ALL is counter-productive. Checking in on status now and then is good. Any problems, good. Got a priority to be worked on ASAP, good. Otherwise, as long as dealines are being met, only so much work can be done in a day.

Like you DLP- I was always working. My office was next door to one of the partners. Exception, stress attacks that forced me to go to floor below and walk in circles for a while.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

It's easier in Colorado. An attorney can sign a Summons. No need to go to the Court Clerk. However, some Denver area courts issue Delay Reduction Orders or similar orders. These orders require service to be completed within a time certain, e.g. sixty days. But one can move a court for an extension beyond that period of time.

Again, I KNEW these folks had to be served. I don't need to be nagged. I never liked nagging people, especially people I need on my side. I resented being forced into nagging. I think nagging alienates people and ultimately turns them against you.

Yeah, it is called a Motion to Enlarge Time. It is gadly ever used unless the case is really stale.

Nagging does alienate people. I did not even say good morning to my nagging attorney. Oh, it alianates - "man go away", when he came in for his regular whip cracking.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

[Demand letters] They included statements as to liability, and lengthy, originally drafted treatment summaries for nearly every provider. I spent a lot of time analyzing each provider's meds for material that, of course, supported plaintiff's case. I summarized that material as to how plaintiff's injuries and treatment were the direct result of defendant's negligence. ...

DLP- I am surprised you were drafting the demand letters for liability issues. TO ME- that is attorney work, he is representing the client and attorney should be drafting such letters. WHY? It is the legal opinion of the trained attorney as to what records support the direct result of defendant's negligence. Attornye's opinion of negligence, attorney's judgment call on what documents support negligence.

I organized the records, and summarized them. I was told to highlight anything new, a new injury that occured after date of present one. That was it. The rest is for attorney's trained knowledge on what documents give weight to the negligence. WHAT the heck did your attorney do?

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

kmm in Wilmington, Delaware said: Yeah, it is called a Motion to Enlarge Time. It is gadly ever used unless the case is really stale.

Nagging does alienate people. I did not even say good morning to my nagging attorney. Oh, it alianates - "man go away", when he came in for his regular whip cracking.

correction: It is "hardly" ever used unless the case is really stale.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

I found that learning to read and understand medical records was like learning a new language - which it is, if you think about it. I picked up the lingo in time. Narrative reports weren't altogether difficult to analyze because of being printed. Handwritten S.O.A.P. notes were tougher - primarily because they were mostly illegible. I found chiro records were also tough from which to extract material. I learned to decipher ICD-9 injury codes. Again, it was a great education..

I remember S.O.A.P. Had to look it up but, I remenbered: S: Pt complains of ..... and P: give pt lots of perscrition drugs.

My attorney told me to just keep track of the dates of chiro in medical summary...he called them the "feel good doctors" such as pt still going to chiro, dates.

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

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

Of course I gave him drafts for his review. As time went on he made fewer and fewer changes in my drafts. Accordingly, he must have been satisfied with the material I sourced and relied upon to prepare the letters.

What killed me sometimes is he would get on me and get on me to provide drafts - as if they were a rush or emergency. I would drop everything to work up and provide drafts - and he often let them languish on his desk for days and weeks on end...It was enough to drive a sane person crazy.

So you must have worked off a Sample Demand of Liabilites..

My question is: WHO was determining what liabilites made the negligence theory? You or the lawyer.

I did medical summaries. BUT that is all. My attorney reviews the summaries, makes legal decisions documents for his case. These cases were defense. EX: firm represents insurance company of BANK abc, woman comes into bank and gets spun in revolving door, falls on floor, and then, soon, she claims her whole body is falling apart. SO, I get the medical records, organize them, and summarize them, and then, off to my attorney they go - for his legal knowledge to prove a negligence case..in favor of the insurance co he is representing, to pay the least amount of damages to the injured woman [plaintiff].

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kmm in Wilmington, Delaware

67 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said:

I would, but it was obvious most of the time. E.g., defendant rearends plaintiff's vehicle. The cops ticket defendant for careless driving, following too closely, etc. Therefore, our position is liability is clear cut.

During my nearly seven year tour with the SOB, only one case actually went to trial. A couple came close.

Perhaps our work was different because I did plaintiffs' work (and claimants' WC, of course) and you did insurance defense. /[QUOTE]

YEAH, DIFFERENCE OF WORK. I GET IT. YOU WERE DOING VEHICLE ACCIDENTS WHERE PEOPLE GOT INJURED. AND, THE TICKET AND ACCIDENT REPORT MADE IT CLEAR WHO DID WHAT - AND OF COURSE, IT IS NEVER YOUR CLIENT'S FAULT.

I DID NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENDED AFTER I SUMMARIZED THE RECORDS, EXCEPT THAT AN ARBITRATION WAS SCHEDULED AT SOME POINT IN TIME AND I PREPARED THE ARBITRATION EXHIBITS PACKAGE. THE EXHIBITS OF MED RECORDS PICKED BY ATTORNEY. NO TRIALS HERE EITHER. ALL SETTLED.

NO, I WOULD HATE TO WORK UP A FILE AT LAST MINUTE. TOO TEDIOUS OF WORK UNDER PRESSURE.

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lkp in Atlanta, Georgia

67 months ago

thank you displaced legal professional this has being very interesting I am planning on going to law school to become a Family law attorney but as a back up I thought about becoming a paralegal if I did not get in but after reading all of this, I have decided to do a little more research.

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