The end of my legal career?

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Litigation_Paralegal in Tampa, Florida

65 months ago

It may very well be you are being blacklisted in your area. The same thing happened to me. Most of the administrators and lawyers know each other around here. If one of them has a beef against you, they are going to talk negatively about you and you will lose out on a job. The only reason I have a job now is because the lawyer I work for worked with me at another firm and remembered me. He knew I was a good employee and put out a good work product. If this were not the case, I believe I would still be unemployed right now and sending out resumes day after day. They aren't supposed to talk negatively about prior employees, but we know they all do it. My employer even told me of some of the phone conversations he had with prior employers. It is as though they took it personally when I gave my notice and moved on -- even though I fully trained the people coming in after me and worked out my notice. I wish you the best of luck. Perhaps your chances of finding employment may be better if you consider relocating?

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mary in Tampa, Florida

65 months ago

I was at R-firm in Tampa (big firm) and across Florida. There eight years. Was fired. New manager. Her mission was to get rid of me. Then she called every agency in town she could and ran me down. That was the end of my legal career.

If you think you are being badmouthed, you probably are.

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Litigation_Paralegal in Tampa, Florida

65 months ago

It's ridiculous that so many people within this industry see nothing wrong with ruining others' lives and/or livelihood. I'm actually blacklisted by the major "legal placement agency" in this area . . . lol. To make a long story short, I was complimented on every assignment they ever sent me on -- every single firm begged me for my resume -- but because one administrator in the area was upset because I didn't want to work for his firm, they pulled me off the current assignment I was on and will no consider me for temp or permanent placement. This was over 10 years ago and last year, when I was looking for employment, they called me in for an interview until I informed them I was already in their system -- once they looked me up they never called me again. I would love to know what it says in their system!

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buncle19 in Carlsbad, California

65 months ago

Going back to school and tapping into available grants is probably the best thing to do at this time. I've talked to people in their 40s and 50s that are retraining then shifting into the healthcare field, where they'll be plenty of work with all the baby boomers retiring.

I honestly don't see any future for paralegals which is why I'm shifting social work. Anyone thinking about entering into the paralegal field is making a huge mistake. It's like buying an old junk car and expecting to drive it across country, when realistically, you'd be lucky to make it to the the quick mart and back, without some major malfunction.

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Parafreegal in Oak Lawn, Illinois

65 months ago

I just wanted to make a clarification. I don't think I've been blacklisted. I only feel like I've been. I don't feel anyone at my past employers would say anything negative about me. I simply feel like I won't be considered for any available job, whether permanent or temporary. I just don't know why, apart from there being a dearth of available litigation paralegal jobs and a glut of candidates. My experience, skills and credentials are all excellent in my opinion. Yet, the responses to submitted resumes has been nil over the last several months.

Most of the resumes I submit are in response to online ads. At this point, I refuse to respond to any ad where I know it's a recruiter. I also will only rarely respond to a blind ad, as at this point I'm familiar with the ads placed by recruiters and can tell when a blind ad is theirs. Recruiters and agencies have not been helpful at all. Back in the day, there was usually at least some temporary work available through agencies in the litigation area, but apparently that work has completely dried up at present.

I'm embarrassed and humiliated by this whole episode. It won't get any easier when the time comes to explain this unemployment to a prospective employer.

I'm just throwing this out there to see if anyone has any thoughts. I know there's a ton of negativity out there about the paralegal field on this board and elsewhere, but it's hard for me to grasp that all of this experience has led to this dead end.

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

65 months ago

I am also in litigation and have talked to many of my peers and all say that litigation is dead right now except for anything related to the housing problem. So people working at foreclosure law firms, mortgage servicers, consumer debt, consumer finance, law firms that represent HOA's and related have good busy jobs. So maybe check out those kinds of areas. Apparently it's possible to get into those areas without specific experience because there just aren't many paralegals with that kind of background.

I have one friend who works on business bankruptcies and they are steady, but not crazy busy. That's a harder area to get into without experience though.

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fender58 in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

Parafreegal, I wouldn't say that your career is dead. Suspended, maybe, but not dead. I was laid off earlier this year from an in-house litigation position dealing with asbestos litigation among other tasks. Prior to that I was at a large securities firm that moved its headquarters to St. Louis, MO. I declined the offer to relocate. It is an extremely tight market. Currently, in my area, it has become very dry, if you will. If you consider that major law firms (and others) are laying off experienced attorneys and paralegals, you have to not only compete with your peers, but, with others that have more experience/education. I went on unemployment for about three months. During that three months I applied to atleast 3 to 4 positions a week per unemployment guidelines. I had a few interviews, and knew that I was underqualified for some and overqualified for others. However, the vast majority, I never heard from. Given the economy, employers can pick and choose who they want. That must be accepted. I did land a position with a mortgage company doing contract work. The pay is nowhere near what I was making, but, that's not the point. The jobs are out there. Start sending resumes in to company's that you would like to work at that may not be advertising. Or, research a company, locate a contact, send a blind letter touting your skills and attributes and how you can use them to advance their goals. Sounds lofty, I know. But, when you're not employed, you have nothing to lose, really (okay, aside from tangible needs like food, clothing and shelter).

If you decide to no longer be a paralegal, then by all means pursue another career. Just be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. Remember, we all have transferrable skills. Anyway, I might have gone off topic, but, just want to throw in my two cents.

Good luck.

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

65 months ago

There's not really any transferable skills with paralegal work - I mean unless you count Excel which is really just a given now for any job sitting in front of a computer. If you're not using Excel at your current job, you'll need Excel in your next job.

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fender58 in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

Paralegal in Dallas, Texas said: There's not really any transferable skills with paralegal work - I mean unless you count Excel which is really just a given now for any job sitting in front of a computer. If you're not using Excel at your current job, you'll need Excel in your next job.

I disagree - every job has transferrable skills, the trick is identifying what they are and how you can apply them to the next opportunity. I thoroughly believe this. Now, can you go from paralegal work to engineering? Probably not without some further education. One must be practical. But, again, as I commented above, if you (and I say this in the collective sense) feel that you've reached a dead end, by all means, get out and do something else. Go back to school or take some online courses in something that you're interested in.

I'm a paralegal because I really enjoy the work; it interests me. I certainly don't do it for fame and fortune.

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Litigation_Paralegal in Tampa, Florida

65 months ago

I would say the problem that comes with trying to transfer paralegal skills has more to do with the potential employers perception of paralegals. When I was unemployed I also attempted to branch out into other fields, but in every interview I went on the interviewer would say, "You are used to working in a law office -- this job doesn't pay that well" or "With your prior experience, I am just concerned that you will be bored with the position."

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Paralegal in Dallas, Texas

65 months ago

Paralegals (including me) may think our skills are transferable, but the only people who matter when answering the question "Are paralegal skills transferable?" are human resources people - hiring people - recruiters and I am here to tell you they have all answered that question in the negative.

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What3ever in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

63 months ago

Edward Jones has a great benifit/salary package for branch office administrator's. I am currently working toward my degree in Criminal Justice and paralegal studies (back up to the back up). A great deal of the material I've learned in paralegal studies I already knew due to working in that position at E.J.

Before going to E.J. my back ground was in banking and transportation; as long as you have good credit and can pass a criminal back ground check you will be considered for the job.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

63 months ago

I can't really say whether paralegal skills transfer to other vocations. I can say that if you're a litigation paralegal that those skills will not transfer to being a corporate paralegal, real estate paralegal or any type of paralegal outside of litigation. Whether that extends to other vocations, I don't know.

I've had almost every interview experience in the book at this point in tracking down a litigation job. I went from not getting jobs years ago due to lack of experience to now not getting jobs seemingly due to too much experience. I keep trying, but I still think my legal career may unfortunately be over.

Also, I should add one more thing I've learned over the last several months. Law firms are now apparently outsourcing paralegal work. That's right. I've heard this coming out of two firms that I'm aware of - both of which are house counsel. One firm sent work out of state after laying off all of its paralegals. Perhaps others are aware of this practice? I also know of two house counsels that have gone poof up in smoke. It's bad.

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The game in Pontiac, Michigan

63 months ago

you manage projects on a daily basis, how is this not a very viable skill to incorporate when transferring a skill from paralegal to any other field.

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smack in Needham, Massachusetts

62 months ago

One thing I have learned working as a paralegal for more than 15 years is that it is a dead end job. Paralegal skills are not transferable to other occupations, especially in this economy. I was a corporate paralegal and a real estate paralegal, and laid off several times doing real estate. I have had it. Neither is transferable to another area of law. Each area of law is very specialized and it is extremely hard trying to move to another area. It is brutal trying to even get back into corporate law after being out of it for 10 years after 10 years being a corporate paralegal in a major law firm! It'a all about what you have done lately, and if you haven't done it in awhile they will find someone who has more current experience. Real estate is so schizophrenic that it is a bad choice. I have made the decision to change careers, get a master's degree and pursue a more stable line of work. If you want to stay employed as a paralegal and be in demand choose litigation or IP.

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mary in Tampa, Florida

62 months ago

If you have real estate paralegal experience, you may think about mortgage broker line of work. You also get commissions.

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smack in Needham, Massachusetts

62 months ago

mary in Tampa, Florida said: If you have real estate paralegal experience, you may think about mortgage broker line of work. You also get commissions.

Thanks Mary, but as you may be aware many mortgage brokers lost their jobs (and subsequently many lost their homes) in the recession so it's risky and the income is unpredictable. Paralegals often don't get hired for those jobs, as they usually want someone in the mortgage/banking industry.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

62 months ago

Smack, I disagree on choosing litigation. It's my experience that Litigation Paralegals are not in demand right now.

Like you said, it is hard to transfer from one area of the law to another area (i.e. from real estate to corporate). Also, it must be said that it is also hard to transfer from one type of litigation to another and from a smaller firm to a larger firm. I have met road blocks at every single angle I have taken in trying to get another job in litigation.

Big or bigger firm? They want someone with big firm experience.

A type of litigation outside of my area of expertise? They only want someone with experience in that specific area of litigation.

My area of litigation? I can't say for sure, but I believe my years of experience right now are what's killing me. That's on top of firms in my area of expertise shutting down altogether and/or outsourcing paralegal work.

I've told myself many times that my legal career is over, but what else am I supposed to do with all of this experience? It's a vicious catch-22.

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smack in Needham, Massachusetts

62 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: Smack, I disagree on choosing litigation. It's my experience that Litigation Paralegals are not in demand right now.

Like you said, it is hard to transfer from one area of the law to another area (i.e. from real estate to corporate). Also, it must be said that it is also hard to transfer from one type of litigation to another and from a smaller firm to a larger firm. I have met road blocks at every single angle I have taken in trying to get another job in litigation.

Big or bigger firm? They want someone with big firm experience.

A type of litigation outside of my area of expertise? They only want someone with experience in that specific area of litigation.

My area of litigation? I can't say for sure, but I believe my years of experience right now are what's killing me. That's on top of firms in my area of expertise shutting down altogether and/or outsourcing paralegal work.

I've told myself many times that my legal career is over, but what else am I supposed to do with all of this experience? It's a vicious catch-22.

I am familiar with and have done some litigation, but don't have enough experience to market myself as one. I don't know the job market in Chicago, but in Boston there are many job openings for litigation paralegals. The lesson here is, become a paralegal, well and good, but don't pick it as a career that will take you to retirement. When I started as a paralegal it was a new and growing profession. The field is now saturated with them, so, supply and demand.......too much of a supply and too little demand.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

62 months ago

I realize it's not a career that will take me to retirement. But it's what I know and where my experience lies right now.

I can't say I'm an expert on the market for litigation paralegals in Chicago outside of my own experience, but that experience is that the market is almost totally dried up.

I'd phone some recruiters with agencies and poll them on this question, but we all know they're a complete waste of time and spew nothing but empty words. I'd also ask them about any temporary work in litigation, but that's also a waste of time, as that type of thing, which was seemingly always there in the past, seems to have also dried up.

I don't know what to say or do anymore. You can say all day long that a litigation paralegal job is a dead end. It seems you don't even need to expend that much energy to sum it up. The field just appears to be simply dead.

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Litigation_Paralegal in Tampa, Florida

62 months ago

Hi Parafreegal in Chicago! I am not familiar with the market in Chicago, but here in Florida litigation paralegals are in demand and if you do an advanced search here on Indeed.com for "litigation paralegal" you will see that there are a lot of jobs out there for litigation paralegals. It sounds as though you are very down about your job situation and I wish you all the best, but I wouldn't say that the litigation paralegal field is dead. I do know that after having been out of the field for awhile myself (maternity leave for 2 years) during most of my interviews they mentioned the fact that I had been out of the field for awhile and were worried that my skills weren't current.

Perhaps if there is an organization in your area that offers pro bono or reduced services for low income families or elder law you could volunteer with them and it might lead to some good networking opportunities as well as give you the chance to show your skills are current. Good luck!

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