Just received my certification, had a nightmare experience

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MarissaH8637 in Clinton Township, Michigan

84 months ago

I stumbled upon this forum about a week ago. I must say I truly enjoy reading about all of your experiences and find them very entertaining. My story is not unusual. I thought I would share it with you as I am seriously contemplating leaving the field. I have a B.A. in psychology I completed a few years ago. Upon that, being unsure which way to go, I foolishly enrolled in the same university's A.B.A.-accredited paralegal program. I looked at the BLS info and thought to myself 'Wow! This is a growing field, has good pay, I don't have to dole out the big bucks on law school... perfect!' It all seemed perfect... back then. I worked my tail off, received high grades, and generally thought my future looked promising. I started looking for a position about 9 months before graduating. I did not have any legal experience, however, I did have some general administrative experience. I went on a few interviews, all of which led to nothing as I believe they were reluctant to hire someone who was not officially certified yet. Upon finishing school, there continued to be a lack of opportunities. The bills were piling up. I was getting desperate. So I took a job as a clerk at a debt collection firm where I was told I would be put on track to a paralegal position within about 6 months. The pay was TERRIBLE- like Mickey D's terrible- $8.50 an hour. The attorney was abusive towards me. I don't take abuse so I literally told her to eff off one day and just walked out. I'm bartending now, making 2.5x that, and don't want to go back. Should I just throw my education out the window? I put a lot of time and money into it and am really upset.

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MarissaH8637 in Clinton Township, Michigan

84 months ago

I never was trying to 'shortcut' law school. I just wanted a job where I could make a decent living. When I researched salaries for paralegals prior to enrolling (this was back in 2007) I found that the average pay was about 45-50K annually. And my school told me I would make about 35-40K to start. That was then. Where I'm at here in Michigan the salaries for open positions are typically nowhere near that, unless something opens up at a large firm or corporation. And the people hiring for those jobs have their pick of the litter. They just toss rookie resumes like mine in the trash bin. It feels hopeless. I don't know how to transfer my skills and education to another field. Some have told me title and insurance companies would be good places to look, but the ones I've contacted show no interest.

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what_is_this_world_coming_to in Midwest

84 months ago

MarissaH8637, I feel the same way, yet I've been employed in the field on and off for 15 years. Personally, I don't want to go back into it, but feel I have no choice. Oh the horrible experiences that I have had. Am I a glutton for punishment? I've done the title company route, insurance companies, etc. and honestly, if I could bartend and be good at it, I would. My suggestion is that you continue bartending, save your money, and keep applying for Paralegal jobs. Then when you can get an entry level position and are making squat, you can fall back on your savings.

Did you look into any other positions at law firms besides paralegal ones? It took me quite a few years and jobs to finally receive my coveted "Paralegal" title with business cards. I had to start out as a Legal Secretary. Honestly, it is just a title. People call themselves it all the time, and they just have experience with a H.S. Diploma. I have an ABA approved Associates as a Paralegal (which at the time I received it, it was pretty standard); nowadays people get Bachelor's with a paralegal certificate. The certificates range in qualifications, but one in my hometown was only 3 classes and then *BAM* you are a paralegal. It was not even ABA approved.

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Jane Do Girl in Annandale, Virginia

84 months ago

I've been away from the forums for a while. I applied, interviewed for, and received a dream job opportunity as a paralegal w/a non-profit organization. Packed up 25 years of life from my hometown and relocated to the DC/VA metro area in 3 weeks time. During my most recent job search, I discovered a great website for those looking for alternative legal job opportunities: www.idealist.org/ My last couple years in insurance defense litigation really wore me down, and I was really searching for an opportunity to deal with a substantive area of law that I'm truly passionate about, and I finally found one. Sometimes, you have to think outside the box on how you can use your legal skills to land a job you truly enjoy. I hope this website will be useful.

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buncle19 in Carlsbad, California

84 months ago

The paralegal field is one of the worse fields to be in and seems to attract a lot of acquiescent women who like catering to male lawyers, many of whom are abusive.

I think a paralegal credential coupled with a *management degree* and working in the private sector is a much better bet, since employers place a higher value on a law related background. More and more paralegals are ditching law offices and going to work for private companies,since there really is no future in working for a lawyer or law firm.

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tmf1977 in Yonkers, New York

84 months ago

Jane Do Girl in Annandale, Virginia said: I've been away from the forums for a while. I applied, interviewed for, and received a dream job opportunity as a paralegal w/a non-profit organization. Packed up 25 years of life from my hometown and relocated to the DC/VA metro area in 3 weeks time. During my most recent job search, I discovered a great website for those looking for alternative legal job opportunities: www.idealist.org/ My last couple years in insurance defense litigation really wore me down, and I was really searching for an opportunity to deal with a substantive area of law that I'm truly passionate about, and I finally found one. Sometimes, you have to think outside the box on how you can use your legal skills to land a job you truly enjoy. I hope this website will be useful.

Congratulations on your new position! Hope all is well with you and your are adjusting well to your new home and job. All the best!

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