Is a Paralegal Career Right for You?
The projected demand for both paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 20% each year until 2020.
One of the primary drivers behind this is that law firms want to reduce costs, and paralegals can handle both tasks regularly performed by lawyers as well as a wide array of other duties, too.
If you're interested in pursuing a new career as a paralegal, check out these recommended character traits to determine if it's the right fit for you, and then join us for our certificate course.
Do you have an innate drive to get to the bottom of things?
When someone tells you a bit about themselves, are you interested in their bigger story?
Curiosity and interest in telling a story are definite pluses for paralegals.
Attention to Detail
While some folks believe that "done is better than perfect," that's not a mantra well-matched to paralegal work.
Good enough is not always good, and an excellent paralegal will check and re-check information and facts to ensure their accuracy.
Creating a system to manage every piece of information in a file that may have grown to fill a filing cabinet is incredibly important.
Easily accessing a case's information will enable you to file pleadings as well as ensure discovery is propounded or responded to on time.
Many paralegals will be the right-hand of a lawyer -- especially if you're working in a smaller firm.
Knowing your job and the operations of the firm well enough to take care of what needs to be done is an important asset.
Don't wait for someone to tell you what to do: Just do it.
A lot of cases are like gigantic puzzles, and it's your job to turn thousands of pieces of information into a coherent story.
Being able to translate details into a compelling case can be the difference between winning and losing.
You're going to spend a lot of time reading everything from case law to documents specific to a client, so being able to read -- and comprehend! -- lots of data without your eyes glazing over is important.
Sometimes you'll need to find the proverbial needle in the haystack -- which can often be the most tedious as well as the most gratifying job.
Honing your research skills so you know which sources are to be trusted, how to collect and document information, and how to effectively share your findings is key to your success as a paralegal.
After being organized, this is possibly the most important trait a paralegal can possess!
You'll often be dealing with a variety of different personalities, and sometimes with people who are stressed and not in a great place in their life.
Being patient enough to listen, empathize, and not allow bad attitudes to influence you is essential.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
If you read through these traits and thought, "Hey, that's me!" then consider taking the next step.
Our comprehensive Paralegal Certificate Course is offered each Fall and is led by experts in the legal field.
This 84-hour course takes 6 weeks and will provide you the foundation on which to build your new career as a paralegal, including an in-depth study of the following topics:
- Legal Terminology and Introduction to Legal Process
- Rules of Civil Procedure, Introduction to Torts and Contracts, and Documents
- Pleading Format, Discovery, Evidence, Interviewing, and Investigation
- Elementary Legal Research
- Advanced Legal Research, Writing, and Shepardizing
- Law Office Management, Administrative Hearings, and Appellate Rules