Can I become a paralegal with no experience?

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Comments (4)

mary in Tampa, Florida

66 months ago

ChrisNYC in New York, New York said: I really want to work in the legal field. It seems like almost all the jobs for paralegals require experience though. Is it foolish to hold out for a paralegal job?
I'd like something that pays fairly well but allows me to learn and gain experience.

It depends on what you look like, how pretty you are, how charming you are when you get an interview, and how horny the attorney is when he interviews you.

Yes, I have seen this.

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FLFamLawParalegal in Tampa, Florida

66 months ago

I think it is possible to get an entry-level job as a paralegal with the right education - it's difficult but not impossible. A lot depends on "who you know." And yes, I must agree with Mary, how one presents oneself does influence the attorney's decision on whether to hire you or not. I had one attorney flat out tell me, months after I had got the job, that they basically hired me because I was cuter than the other person who interviewed. It certainly wasn't because of my vast experience, let me tell you. In my interview, I said that it was actually a good thing that I had so little experience because I had no bad habits to unlearn and I was malleable clay in the potter's hands, waiting to be molded. No joke, I actually said that. It was actually a pretty good job, I learned a lot at that law office.

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FLFamLawParalegal in Tampa, Florida

66 months ago

You never know DLP, maybe you are cuter than you think. (smiles)
Of course, it is possible to get a first paralegal job without knowing anyone - I got my first job by answering an ad. (Then the cuteness factor came into play!ha!) But I think knowing other paralegals and attorneys makes a difference too - for example, two other people in my office got their jobs without interviews, simply because they knew other people in our office. They were hired primarily because of staff recommendations. The attorney I currently work for, I had met in another capacity. Then out of the blue, I got a phone call asking if I'd like to come in and interview. I did not even know a job was available.

With regard to the "cuteness" factor - I wish with all my heart I could say that people got jobs purely because of their qualifications and experience - but that's just not always the case. Hiring attorneys are human and they are influenced by external factors - how you look, how you smell, your "charm" - these things do play a role in getting hired. I am older now and I doubt I could benefit from the cuteness factor. Sigh...But hey, if you've got it, work it!!

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

66 months ago

If you don't have a paralegal certificate, then don't bother. I suppose if you have a B.A. or B.S. you could get a job at a big law firm as part of the support staff (they call them case assistants and project assistants at some firms here). I honestly don't know how one gets such a job. They are never advertised and have no specific schooling or training for them. Even if you had the paralegal certificate, you don't have experience and jobs are already hard to come by for folks who have both.

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