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WGT in Lawrenceville, Georgia

64 months ago

Hi. I am a 41 year old male who has worked in the travel industry since 1990. My first job at the age of 19 was at a large law firm working as a mailroom clerk/messenger and in the file room. I am now thinking about obtaining a paralegal certificate and, if I am successful in finding employment in this field, I am going to complete my undergraduate and possibly graduate-level studies. I would appreciate any advice as to whether or not I am making the right decision. Thank you.

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

64 months ago

Yeah, you will encounter age discrimination and possibly gender discrimination.

Plus lawfirms are really getting hit with downsizing right now. If you are able to get into a mail room/office services position and they really like you and think you are bright, they will promote you to file clerk or paralegal secretary and then possibly paralegal without any additional education at all. I've seen it happen.

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Jane Do Girl in Pensacola, Florida

64 months ago

To some degree, the gender discrimination against male paralegals is truly alive and well. However, based on the few male paralegals I know, it's well-founded. Male paralegals are more difficult to work with, they do not make good subordinate employees in the legal profession.. male testosterone and ego often get in the way. They are also generally less respectful to their female paralegal colleagues.

Based on past experience, I won't work for a female attorney, nor with a male paralegal colleague.

Instead of pursuing the paralegal profession, you may be better suited to looking into becoming certified/licensed as a Private Investigator - with that credential you can work either for a law firm or for a PI firm that provides services to law firms.

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

64 months ago

Where I have worked the male paralegals were very popular, very smart and worked well with their attorneys. One of the paralegals was a JD who did not want to be a practicing attorney. Another was a gay guy, really great. Another was a super funny outgoing guy - total comedian. Another was a bit frustrated with his role of paralegal and went to law school only to never ever find a lawyer job after passing the bar.

But a lot of attorneys won't have a male paralegal. They just won't. And that sortof tells you how people feel about paralegals - it's a secretarial support role more than anything.

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Chrissy in Pacific Grove, California

55 months ago

I worked as a paralegal in a large prestige law firm. A coworker paralegal was male, nonwhite, and had over 10 years experience as a paralegal, and lacked an undergraduate degree. He was well respected and diplomatic. We did not get bullied by the attorneys. Your situation depends on the type of practice group you are in and which partner you work for. The more tight knit, the more congenial the team is. The more that the partner likes you, the easier time at the firm re coworker treatment. However, don't even think of working as a paralegal with a JD degree; the legal industry views that as a taboo.

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Donald_ in Cliffside Park, New Jersey

55 months ago

Actually Chrissy, I have seen several paralegal job ads that specifically required a JD. I posted one such ad here several weeks ago from Lockheed Martin. I do find these job ads interesting, however, because whena JD is required, it is no longer a paralegal job, but rather an attorney job with paralegal pay!

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franS in Kissimmee, Florida

55 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: The shareholder in my first firm thought I should go to law school. I was in my mid-forties. Who would hire a new lawyer in his mid-forties? (I wouldn't have counted my paralegal experience.) She said she would hire me. Yeah, sure. I have learned that one does not base a major career change, not to mention the major expense of law school, on such assurance.

I can see it now. I would have presented with my brand-new J.D. and law license, only for her to say sorry about that, she has no openings. Or else she would have offered me a job at barely more than my paralegal pay. I would have been nothing more than a paralegal with a law license, doing paralegal work, while staring at humungous student loans.

I have done so-called "advanced" work heretofore reserved for associates - such as drafting demand letters, client opinion letters and very through expert disclosures. But, you're right, Dallas - though I stand by my position that attorneys feel male legal assistants threaten their authority. IMO that shows the low regard so many attorneys have for female legal assistants.

I've been reading many of your posts and had to comment on this one. The attorney that just hired me is likely near 60. He graduated from law school just two years ago. He passed the bar the same year. He is now has his own practice and from what I gather, he's doing well.
It's too bad you have not gone further to become an attorney. I have not read a post by you that I could argue against. Too bad you are not closer to me. I'd have to buy you lunch and pick your brain!

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earl in Ft Mitchell, Kentucky

55 months ago

I have a paralegal degree and I am a male. I did well in a career school located in Florence. The placement director slipped and admitted that law firms had told her they do not want to hire a male paralegal. I still have not found a paralegal job and the placement director has done little to help. I would not recomment the paralegal field for a male nor a private career school in any field. It's all about the money.

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ALMA HERRERA (RCC PARALEGAL STUDENT) in Riverside, California

51 months ago

Chrissy in Pacific Grove, California said: I worked as a paralegal in a large prestige law firm. A coworker paralegal was male, nonwhite, and had over 10 years experience as a paralegal, and lacked an undergraduate degree. He was well respected and diplomatic. We did not get bullied by the attorneys. Your situation depends on the type of practice group you are in and which partner you work for. The more tight knit, the more congenial the team is. The more that the partner likes you, the easier time at the firm re coworker treatment. However, don't even think of working as a paralegal with a JD degree; the legal industry views that as a taboo.

WHY IS IT TABOO? TO HAVE A JD DEGREE?

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UselessDegree in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

47 months ago

This thread explains everything to me why my Paralegal degree is useless. Male attorneys view male paralegals for reasons stated as a threat and women attorney's are more comfortable working with other women and don't want a man invading a "woman's" profession". I've personally experienced the hostility in interviews.

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LastDutchman in Slatington, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

As a placement advisor, there is discrimination against males and as well as aggressive or overweight women. And with the economy in such terrible shape, age enters into the recipe for rejection. Now if you are cute or what I call office candy as well as somewhat intelligent, the employment picture changes.

I once met a hooker's roommate who told me the following story. She first put an ad in "Screw Magazine" and started up her business. Latter on, her name was passed around, no need to advertise. I asked her roommate if she discussed her clients with her, "Oh yes, and most of them were lawyers!" As AIDS started making the rounds, she wanted to get out of the profession and on a trip to Boston, a guy met her, fell in love with her and they got married. One last detail, she left the profession with over a hundred thousand in cash!

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Donald_ in Cliffside Park, New Jersey

47 months ago

I think most people assume that male paralegals are either law students or future law school students. Interestingly, however, the priest who serves as the Chaplin at my mother's job used to be a paralegal in DC. So you do have a few male paralegals out there, but they are very small in number.

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Jane Roth in New York, New York

47 months ago

RN is the best now.
Godo luck with Para Legal jobs.
Lots of lawyers out of work.

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Jan3100 in Orange, New Jersey

47 months ago

WGT in Lawrenceville, Georgia said: Hi. I am a 41 year old male who has worked in the travel industry since 1990. My first job at the age of 19 was at a large law firm working as a mailroom clerk/messenger and in the file room. I am now thinking about obtaining a paralegal certificate and, if I am successful in finding employment in this field, I am going to complete my undergraduate and possibly graduate-level studies. I would appreciate any advice as to whether or not I am making the right decision. Thank you.

You're making the right decision. I am a certified Paralegal and in my second year of pursuing my Associate degree in the field. It's a very demanding field and you can so so many other things with the skill set you obtain from paralegal studies (e.g research). All the best with your decision.

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Donald_ in Cliffside Park, New Jersey

47 months ago

Lots of lawyers are applying for paralegal jobs these days. So take in mind they are your competition. Even though many paralegal job ads specify "JDs need not apply" a lot of them leave their JD off their resume.

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

No, she is not making the right decision. There are hardly any paralegal jobs out there.

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

"Not actually, Don. Lawyers are not trained to work as paralegals."

That does not mean they are not applying to paralegal jobs. Many attorneys are out of work with $150,000 in debt and are desperate for any job. Read the lawyer forums like JD Underground:

"I am a recent law graduate. I took the July 2010 bar exam. While I await my results I want to obtain a job as a paralegal. However, most firms do not want to hire JDs for paralegal jobs. Does any one think its a good idea to leave it off my resume. I have 7 years of paralegal experience."

"With the NYC market so bad I have spent the last few months trying to also find work as a paralegal. For some reason, not only do firms not want to hire you, agencies refuse to submit you. I've had several recruiters tell me directly that they can't submit me for para jobs. Any thoughts? Similar experiences?"

"I know I'm asking for it, but I was wondering if you guys would like to shed some light on the life of a paralegal. I'm strongly considering working to become one because paying for law school is....not impossible, but it comes with an enormous ball and chain for a lower class schmuck like myself."

---------------------------

Out-of-work lawyers try to be paralegals, secretaries

Jessica Sparacino was a student at Touro Law School when she got a job as a paralegal for Jackson Lewis in Melville, a position she held a year after graduation before landing a job as a lawyer.

libn.com/blog/2009/08/06/out-of-work-lawyers-try-to-be-paralegals-secretaries/

Even though it is extrmely difficult for a lwyer to get a paralegal job, they can get around this by keeping their JD off their resume.

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

Well, sorry to say, but in my paralegal training, nobody ever told me lawyers cannot be paralegals. I have never been in a law school course so I cannot compare it to a paralegal one. I honestly have no clue what law schools teach, other than the fact the go much more in-depth. But I do believe that as long as a laywer is willing to accept the fact they are an assistant and not micro manage everything, they can be a good paralegal. In fact, it is very common for law school students to work as pralegals during the summer.

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

Law firms generally don't recognize online law degrees since most states don't let you sit for the Bar with them. California and NY are the notable exceptions. Even if you never ever practice law and just want to become a paralegal, at least you have the option, unlike a paralegal degree. Plus you can always go solo, in which case nobody cares about your degree since your the boss.

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Collateral Estoppel in New York, New York

47 months ago

Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey said: Well, sorry to say, but in my paralegal training, nobody ever told me lawyers cannot be paralegals. I have never been in a law school course so I cannot compare it to a paralegal one. I honestly have no clue what law schools teach, other than the fact the go much more in-depth. But I do believe that as long as a laywer is willing to accept the fact they are an assistant and not micro manage everything, they can be a good paralegal. In fact, it is very common for law school students to work as pralegals during the summer.

The difference is not the depth of the courses, they have completely different foci and goals in the main.

If you take a paralegal course on Bankruptcy, it is more than likely you will learn the difference between the types of bankruptcy, cover a few hypothetical cases, and spend a lot of time on what goes on the petition, how they are filled out, how they are filed, and what is exempt. Many courses will also discuss, and possibly practice filling out the forms creditors use.

A law school course on Bankruptcy will focus on cases, statutes, and public policy. The focus is not how to prepare bankruptcy documents, but to learn the concepts of bankruptcy law.

And I have yet to see a lawyer hired as a paralegal. Our firm would never do it. When we advertize for law students we often get admitted attorneys applying. They should be "better" than law students, but if that is what we weanted we would ask for them. Same with paralegals. If we need a paralegal, we do not consider a law student or a JD. That is not responsive to our needs. Besides the issues of training, a JD hired in as a paralegal would always have one eye on the exit door.

A law student is woefully inadequate to serve as a paralegal. They have received no training in how to do the work and lack the experience to perform the functions required that an admitted attorney might have.

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Collateral Estoppel in New York, New York

47 months ago

Haha...yeah, attorneys are clueless when it comes to much of their operations.

I often have been told to "just ask the clerk what is required." Yeah, clerks love explaining procedure from step A to Z. Attorneys have often asked me to ask clerks to give answers which constitute the giving of legal advice.

I guess these attorneys believe that clerks are law fairies sent to assist us through the maze of legal procedure.

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

"But I don't believe fresh, inexperienced non-ABA law school grads and online grads can sit for the NY bar:"

Actually they can:

"In cases where a state does allow foreign law graduates to sit for the bar exam, including in New York, as a general rule, at least three years of legal study, not including the LL.M. degree, are required for eligibility."

www.law.columbia.edu/current_student/GLS/bar

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

No, I am not wrong. There are multiple ways to be eligible to sit for the Bar in NY. Method #1 is to graduate from a law program in a common-law country:

1) The applicant shall show fulfillment of the educational requirements for admission to the practice of law in a country other than the United States by successful completion of a period of law study...

and

that such other country is one whose jurisprudence is based upon the principles of the English Common Law...

Method #2 is showing admission to practice law in a foreign country.

When you read the rules, pay very close attention to the words "and" as well as "or" at the end of each paragraph. Right before the paragraphs you copied and pasted is the word "or." This is a very important distinction.

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

All I said was that instead of getting a paralegal degree, I would get an online LLB. That is perfectly related to the topic.

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Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey

47 months ago

I'm not getting an LLB. However, if I was right out of high school with no degree, I would give it serious thought. Plus with an LLB you could always go to law school after you graduate and get a JD.

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mary in Tampa, Florida

47 months ago

What's the purpose of any of this conversation anyways?

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mary in Tampa, Florida

47 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Excellent question, Mary. Don opined that lawyers are paralegals' competition for jobs. And the discussion went off on a tangent.

Well, there is no competition. The lawyers get the jobs. They give their peon work.

A lot of lawyer work is now going to India. So a lot of American attorneys are having it rough finding work.

The peons (us) have a lot less work.

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John in Germantown, Maryland

46 months ago

Donald_ in Ridgefield, New Jersey said: Law firms generally don't recognize online law degrees since most states don't let you sit for the Bar with them. California and NY are the notable exceptions. Even if you never ever practice law and just want to become a paralegal, at least you have the option, unlike a paralegal degree. Plus you can always go solo, in which case nobody cares about your degree since your the boss.

Only California will allow you to sit for the bar exam , in which less than 20% of people who went to "online" law schools will ever pass. Most will probably never be able to find a job. There are a few that went to concord law school online which have been licensed before the supreme court recently though, fyi. We could see a change in years to come.

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robo in Sacramento, California

46 months ago

After undergoing several joint replacements a couple years back, I could no longer work as a builder. I returned to an online law school in CA that I left 10 years ago after passing the CA Baby Bar and finishing my second year of a four year course. I'm about to complete the final two years and should earn my JD shortly.

Maintaining no delusions about passing the CA Bar after such a large gap in studies (and memory)I've been considering attending MTI's ABA accredited paralegal program in Sacramento. The admissions advisor states they have a very succesful placement service; in the 90% and better range. As another poster has openly fretted--I too am no kid (mid 50's),and male. Much of what I've read here is leading me to believe that I already have, or perhaps will, waste more time and money in this pursuit. Opinions? Thank you!

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

46 months ago

I remember touring the paralegal school and they showed my their job placement bulletin board hanging on the wall - this was 12 years ago - and they said, "There are 11 jobs for every graduate!" I signed up, took out the student loans and took the 5 months of day time classes. There were 30 people in the class and everyone of us had a 4 year college degree. I was the median age at 35. The youngest had just graduated from college and the oldest was about 67. We all completed internships that the school arranged for us.

So we graduate and I start calling the jobs on the job board and I was told by the people I talked to on the phone things like: "We asked for that job to be posted several years ago." "We have asked the paralegal school to take down the ads, but I guess they haven't." "We don't hire entry level paralegals I don't know what that job posting says Entry Level." NONE of the jobs posted on the wall were real.

I did my own very aggressive job hunt and landed my own good job at a mid sized firm in 2 weeks. About 4 others in the class also found good real jobs. Most never did.

I was also fortunate to find subsequent paralegal jobs and my current corporate paralegal job is awesome. I work with lots of paralegals who came from law firms and all are so relieved to (1) have a job and (2) not be in a law firm. In a corportate environment we all work for the company. We don't work for the attorneys. BIG difference. I was talking to one fellow paralegal on Friday and she said the firm she just came from was horrible and the billing hours were way down. The clients didn't want paralegals to work on cases - only non-billing secretaries. Such is the future of paralegal work.....

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Francisco in Huntsville, Texas

40 months ago

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

Kind of off topic at this point, but I'm just wondering how you all (especially those in the dallas texas area) think an age 28+ hispanic male would do searching for a paralegal job. Basically, I'm seeing people talking about the fact that attorneys like to bully thier paralegals and hence prefer females. On top of that, being a minority, that could pontentially add to the issue. I'm just basically, trying to avoid putting myself in a position where I'll end up fighting someone for treating me like an overpaid coffee-fetcher.

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