Law without Law School: 4 Major Career Tips for Paralegals

Studying at school for a paralegal career in a class environment is one thing; however, actually getting hired for your first job as a legal assistant is another matter.

Our brief overview below covers four practical but effective tips on how to best prepare for that first elusive job experience as a legal assistant.

Make Yourself Known and Network

If you go to a school for legal assistants, chances are you already know someone who is a paralegal assistant or know of someone who does. Likewise, volunteering your time in giving assistance at some law office may position you for the next opening—mail room clerk, file clerk or simply answering phones.

Start early in making networking connections among other paralegal assistants, secretaries, court clerks and/or attorneys themselves. Furthermore, market yourself by volunteering/joining some paralegal associations and community organizations such as a local Legal Aid firm.

Intern Yourself

While not all paralegal schools offer intern programs, be creative and develop your own program by letting legal firms know you are available to work for them on an intern basis. This is one approach that many attorneys lean towards in having work facilitated for them—without having to pay out a salary.

Brush Up On Your Skills

Knowing how to communicate properly, either verbally or on paper, is crucially important in a profession where you’ll spend up to 80% of the day interacting with others. Moreover, writing abilities of a comprehensive quality level will be needed for all the diverse documentation found in a legal office or courtroom setting.

Today, being tech savvy is a requirement for any job, especially in legal firms. Knowing how to use digital media to thoroughly research, investigate and present information is vitally important in criminal, business or even health-related platforms. A basic, working knowledge of skills is simply not enough for today’s paralegal.

Furthering Your Career

Giving an employer notice that you are interested in career advancement within their firm is a plus factor for any job applicant. Making mention of current or future enrollment plans to obtain further education by attending an on campus or online school for a master’s online paralegal degree may put the proverbial feather in your cap.

Ranked 17th on a list of 200 best jobs by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, projections are for an 18 percent growth rate clear to the year 2020. As a result, attorneys now demand from paralegals more professionalism, serious commitment and polished, accomplished skills best found with an advanced degree of study.

Consequently, with the above mentioned tips of advice, paralegal job applicants can expect a bright future in a field that seems to open wider each day. These steps ensure that the first job entry position turns out to be a rewarding one for the paralegal assistant as well as for the legal team he/she is on.

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