Is being a paralegal that bad?

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Mairmoni in Columbus, Georgia

46 months ago

Donald_ in New Jersey said: The LSAT is only if your applying to law school. If you just want to be a paralegal, there is absolutely no need to take it. ALso, since you don't have a paralegal degree, you will need a paralegal certificate.

As an older retired school teacher (57) taking abuse from an attorney can not possibly be as frustrating as the verbal abuse from an elementary school student. As a school teacher we must always use positive reinforcement and positive disciplinary actions to redirect student behavior. Maybe that is why schools are locked down with very high security measures in place to protect everyone at school. I would rather take verbal abuse from an attorney than a middle schooler any day.

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LS in Edmond, Oklahoma

46 months ago

Mairmoni, the issue isn't so much whether or not an elementary school student is more abusive than an attorney, but why a person would place themselves in such an abusive situation, when there are better jobs out there. Any type of abuse is unacceptable.

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JF in CA

46 months ago

Being a paralegal can really be that bad depending on the type of law you're doing and where you're working. I've worked as a paralegal at a government agency, a large corporation and two gigantic business law firms. Law firms are terrible to work for and most of the stories about nightmare attorneys and nightmare working conditions probably come from people employed there (other forum posters can set me straight if I'm wrong about this.) Government agency and corporate jobs are much better and more humane places to work because there a way more non-lawyers than lawyers and that tends to humble and humanize them and because their arrogant,abusive behavior simply won't be tolerated the way it is in private practice. I think the fact that you also have plenty of other places to go in government and corporate jobs tends to check the behavior of the attorneys as well. Unfortunately, the vast majority of jobs are with private law firms and the competition for corporate jobs is fierce.

Like you, I have a short temper. I also have a pretty sharp tongue. Attorneys will provoke you nearly everyday and you'll have to battle with your temper frequently. I have lost my temper with an attorney once, and told her exactly what I thought of her. I didn't get fired, but that's only because it was an associate I blew up at, not a partner.

There are some hard facts you will have to accept if you decide to pursue this line of work. The attorneys will not respect you or appreciate you. Period. Whatever you do, it won't be good enough, fast enough, complete enough, etc. When, heaven forbid, you make a mistake, count on the attorney coming down on you for it like the wrath of God. Mistakes the attorneys make? Those are you're fault
too. It's not an easy path. If you don't have a strong interest in the subject matter you'll be working in then being a paralegal probably won't be worth it.

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Yup in San Diego, California

46 months ago

"There are some hard facts you will have to accept if you decide to pursue this line of work. The attorneys will not respect you or appreciate you. Period. Whatever you do, it won't be good enough, fast enough, complete enough, etc. When, heaven forbid, you make a mistake, count on the attorney coming down on you for it like the wrath of God. Mistakes the attorneys make? Those are you're fault
too. It's not an easy path. If you don't have a strong interest in the subject matter you'll be working in then being a paralegal probably won't be worth it."

True that. Type "A" on steroids. No matter how much you try to explain this to someone who hasn't worked for an attorney, they just can't understand until they've lived it.

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WaitingforTheDream in Dedham, Massachusetts

22 months ago

Yes it is very stressful until you get to the top and know what your doing no one teaches you corporate law which you have to under complicated financial information securities and have head for math...I've worked with great partners and horrible ones who would lose their cool so bad I locked myself and saw others do also, in my office. I came up myself with no help whatsoever. No mentoring no nothing and I started as a debt para crossed over to corporate learned securities so now I gwt snapped up and am a recruiters dream. I'm at the top at 100k...yup...by they throw big money at you at these firms because it's so miserable. I would disagree that the pay sucks I started at 52k...i increased my salary from 2011 to now by 60k...not bad BUT I closed a lot of deals, became proficient in M n A and IPO that I'm tge equivalent of a 3rd year associate...

The thing is I hate it I loath it I want to leave the law so bad and have been trying for years but the money is just too good.

Things to know; you will not get much recognition or respect; you will have your own office and a secretary who will not prioritize you: the hierarchy thing; you will do everything yourself and fear making one small typo even in an email; you will be back stabbed by other paralegals especially those in your department; you will get angry a lot and you'll notice the assoc who make double are even more miserable than you are. Just the bald facts. If you want to make big money you go into corporate and learn it all....

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TruthHurts in Lanham, Maryland

20 months ago

I am a paralegal who works in foreclosure and I absolutely hate the work that I do. I am not making a positive difference or impact in the world, I am not being praised or recognized for busting my ass, I receive zero respect from attorneys, management and other coworkers and I feel like a slave.

I have been trying to find another job for over a year now and it's been a real struggle. Currently I am working towards a certificate in non profit management. I am actually trying to make a transition to work for a non profit or university where I can actually make a difference.

My advice to anyone who is thinking about this profession:
1. Do NOT work in foreclosure. It is the most miserable, bitter, soul crushing area of law to work in and it is hard to get out of. Unless you really want experience go for it but continue to look for something better.
2. Yes the profession pays well depending on your experience and location however do NOT only be persuade by the fact that it pays well. You HAVE to love what you do otherwise you will just be miserable.
3. You WILL be treated like a slave by the arrogant attorneys. Sometimes there will be role reversals as in you will be the attorney (the smart, all knowing one) and the attorney will be the paralegal (What am I supposed to do?).
4. If you are a person who is good at organizing, writing, researching, analyzing and being very detail oriented then you can be very marketable in this profession.

Truthfully I went to school to become a paralegal only because I wanted to get out of working in retail. I was having a hard time finding a job and suddenly one day I received a letter from my school about a paralegal program. Since I wasn't making a lot of money and I needed a better job I jumped at the opportunity and enrolled in the program. I did what I can and looking back I don't regret it. It Judy made a stronger person and now I know what I truly want to do.

I hope this helps anyone

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Chicago Suburbnite in Illinois

20 months ago

I don't know if being a paralegal is that bad, as I have yet to find entry-level work.

What I can say to anyone who's considering this as a career field and contemplating going to school or back to school to earn a degree (AA/BA) or certificate in paralegal studies is this:

As a recent paralegal certificate graduate, my advice is this: DON'T. Here's why:

99.9% of the legal assistant and paralegal openings are for more experienced individuals, those with 3 or more years of experience, and all of the job ads for legal receptionist, legal secretary, and other non-paralegal openings indicate you MUST have law office or legal experience thereby making it just as hard to get your foot in the door doing non-paralegal work in the hopes of potentially moving up the career ladder later on down the road.

I've spoken to people online, in various paralegal posting communities and networking groups (reddit, LinkedIn), and offline, at various paralegal association and bar association networking events, who've received a degree or certificate anywhere from a year to 3 years ago and are STILL not working in the legal field. Some of them even have internship and volunteer experience and are finding out that's not giving them the kind of leg up they had hoped for.

Yes, legal assistants and paralegals are in demand, but only if you already have a great deal of experience.

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