How to Be a Successful Paralegal

Many people who have a desire to enter the legal profession want to know how they can become a successful paralegal. Becoming a successful paralegal is not an easy task, but with hard work and determination anyone can find success with a paralegal career.

First, before even considering becoming a paralegal an individual needs to make sure that they want to go into the legal field. Many individuals enter the legal field with preconceived notions of what working at a law firm will actually be like. They then feel as if they have wasted their time pursuing a career in which they are not fulfilled. An individual can always intern at a law firm or visit various law firms to get a better view of the operations before committing to pursuing a career as a paralegal. It is better for the person to know what type of environment they will be working in and what their duties will entail before investing time, money, and energy into the paralegal career.

Second, finding a paralegal school that will meet the educational, professional, and motivational needs of the person attending is very important. There are hundreds of paralegal schools that offer a wide range of courses to help a person become a successful paralegal. If the paralegal knows the particular area of law that they plan to enter, they can find a paralegal school that will offer courses that cater specifically to the type of law that the paralegal is interested in. The perfect paralegal school will provide a good education, open the door to various law firms, and excite the paralegal about the profession they are entering.

The next important step to becoming a successful paralegal is to score an interview and then secure the job. Interviewing is the most integral step to becoming a paralegal because without a successful interview a paralegal career cannot even begin. During the interview the paralegal should display confidence, knowledge of the profession, and assure the employer that they would be a strong and critical asset to the office.

Fourth, paralegals should be quick to gain knowledge of the firm they work for, familiarity with the day-to-day operations, and the ability to quickly pick up tasks and handle problems for the attorneys in the office. Sharp administrative skills that involve using the Internet, office equipment, legal billing programs, and learning every function on the computer is essential to the success of a paralegal. A successful paralegal is one that shows initiative. The more initiative the paralegal displays the more likely they are to garner bonuses and salary increases.

Picking up additional hours is also important if a paralegal wants to be a great success. Many law firms are extremely busy and although the typical paralegal workweek is only 35 hours, overtime is a possibility and paralegals who are successful take the overtime when they can get it. Working overtime increases the productivity and efficiency of the paralegal. It also demonstrates to the attorneys and management that the paralegal is tenacious, dependable, and hardworking. Tenacity, dependency, and hard work are three characteristics of a successful paralegal.

Because the paralegal field seems to be growing at an accelerated rate, many paralegals find that competition to enter the legal field is becoming stiffer. A person who desires to be a success in the field must be able to differentiate themselves from other paralegals competing for jobs by ensuring they have the upper hand when it comes to training and certification. For this reason, paralegal school is extremely important.

Becoming a success at anything requires having the natural talents, abilities, or passion for what you are pursuing. There are certain things that a paralegal is good at naturally that will propel them towards success:

Successful paralegals love to gather information – Research is one of the most critical parts of the legal field. Paralegals will often find they must search through files, archives, Internet pages, and courtroom documents in order to find the information that will help the attorney compose a case. Individuals who do not enjoy researching will not enjoy being a paralegal.

Meticulous and detail oriented – Legal documents are very meticulous with their wording. A meticulous individual who combs over the fine details of documents and files will find success in the paralegal field.

Good communication skills – A paralegal who is a success with relating to and helping clients will be a success at the office. There are many law firms available and clients have the opportunity to carefully choose the law firm they want to represent them. A paralegal who communicates well will be able to maintain the client roster and record more billable hours for the firm.

A successful paralegal can work independently – Although a law firm is comprehensively a team, it is important that the paralegal realize that many hours of work will be independent and a paralegal will need to know how to work without supervision and get things done.

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