3 Essential Foundation Skills for the Entry Level Paralegal
Each Step Into the Paralegal Career is Ordered
10 Paralegal Job Descriptions
- Corporate Paralegal (Nascar, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Oil & Gas Companies, for instance)
- Estate Planning & Probate
- Family Law
- Immigration Law
- Intellectual Property Law (Patent & Trademark Law)
- Litigation Paralegal
- Real Estate Paralegal
- Bankruptcy Paralegal
- Employment Law Paralegal
- Personal Injury Paralegal
3 Top Interview Tips for the Paralegal Career
Any good interview book will tell you this one very important fact:
‘The First Impression is Everything!”
And, it’s so true. Employers have a few simple requirements of a potential new employee:
*Their skill set a/k/a knowledge must rise to the level of the job; and
*The transition into the culture of the law firm must be as seamless as possible.
So, how do you easily impress a new employer when they’ve never met you before?
How do you get across to them that you really are a fit for the job?
First, let’s cover the all-important “First Impression”. It’s quite easy, in fact, to make an excellent, indelible memory for the employer. Here’s how:
- Smile immediately upon meeting the interviewer/employer;
- Be sure you are dressed neatly and professionally;
- Make eye contact while smiling; and
- Be warm and approachable as you speak with the interviewer.
Next, it’s time to discuss “interviewing the interviewer”.
There are specific questions to consider when interviewing for a job in a law firm and many of those inquiries should come from you, the potential employee, not the interviewer. This type of interview is called a 180 degree interview. Instead of the questions coming solely from the office manager or hiring attorney, several are instead posed by you, the interviewee.
Why take this route in the interview? Well, it simply shows the employer that you have done your homework, you have an interest in the position and depending on the questions you ask, may give you great insight into the culture, work-life balance and just how efficiently the law firm is managed.
Lastly, the final tip is how to close out the interview successfully and on a good note. The usual ending by the interviewer is “We have more candidates to interview, however, we’ll be in touch if we feel you are a fit for the position”.
However, there is something you can do to leave a very positive memory in the interviewer’s mind. Simply tell the interviewer the following:
“Thank you for your time today. I am definitely interested in the job and I would like to be considered for the position.”
Make it known to the interviewer that you are ready to take on this position and begin your career with their law firm.
What is an Immigration Paralegal Job Really Like?
Paralegal jobs can be so interesting!
In my book, Legal Break-In, I list several paralegal positions and duties involved with each one.
In this post, I focus on the Immigration Paralegal. This field requires specific forms that are filled out by the paralegal with the information provided by the client.
Let’s start from the beginning.
The client sets up an appointment to meet with the immigration attorney. Sometimes the client comes alone or with family members. The attorney will often times meet the client alone, without the paralegal, however, some assistants have been asked to sit in on meetings to take notes that the attorney would later go over.
The paralegal will often speak to the client over the phone to ask for more information for the forms which must be filed with the court. Clients can be very nervous during an initial meeting, however, once they arrive home additional details will come to them. The paralegal is responsible for working well with the client and in a kind manner. Once all of the information is gathered, the paralegal prepares the form, the attorney reviews and then the forms are e-filed with the court.
During the time the information is collected from the client, the paralegal makes sure every phone call and meeting are documented on the computer for the attorney’s review.
It’s also important that the attorney and paralegal work together to create a system where the details of each case can be tracked so that deadlines are not missed.
You may find it fun to work with an attorney who specializes in a certain type of law because you then become an expert yourself.
How to cope with rejection when applying for a paralegal job.
Can you relate to the following?
1. No response to a cover letter or resume.
2. No response after the first interview. Absolute silence!
After I moved to Florida from Oklahoma, I must have sent out somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10 cover letters and resumes.
However, I did receive 2-3 telephone calls from either law firm administrators or attorneys. Our short conversations gave me some hints regarding why I wasn’t being offered positions.
So, I experimented with my resume and cover letters in order to break down the walls.
Yep – it was mind boggling and very scary. You see, I needed a job in the worst way. At this point in our lives, my salary was needed to help keep the boat afloat (in a big way!)
Even though I had 3 years experience in litigation, no one would give me a chance.
What I realized during this time was that I had to trust the Lord to place me in the right firm. If I was being turned down (& I was), then there was a good reason for it.
So, I tweaked that ‘ol cover letter and resume and continued to push forward.
Don’t give up! I told myself.
Keep moving forward.
There are lessons to be learned through the trials and tribulations of rejection. Don’t miss that as you journey through it.
Remember, He has your best interests at heart and has a specific path laid out for you.
I learned a lot during this 3-4 week period – about myself.
Finally, the phone call came that I had been praying for and I was on my way.
Keep praying, my friend and trust Him. He will not let you down.
Happy on the Journey. Seriously?
It can certainly feel like forever as we work toward our goal or end game, right? Time seems to pass so slowly and it seems as if we’ll never get there.
The journey, though, is an education in itself, so what can we do to enjoy it more?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. What are you grateful for?
List the people, furbabies & material items you’re grateful for. Count your current blessings.
2. What’s one important lesson learned today?
Is there something that occurred today (good or bad) that taught you something? Count it all joy. Whether it’s a good or bad experience, the Lord is developing character traits in you that can be used for good. And if you allow it, all of your bad habits will be eliminated, one by one.
3. When you look back one year from today, what will you see?
There’s no reason to wait to begin moving toward the dream that God has placed on your heart and in your mind. Go for it! One year from now, you’ll be amazed at your progress.
4. Have you made some progress already?
If so, write it down on your computer, in a notebook or create a journal to track your moments. And don’t forget to celebrate your progress along the way.
With effort and an “I can do it!” attitude, you will make it. Keep the faith and keep going forward.