Benefits of Becoming a Paralegal

You may already know that the paralegal profession offers you the opportunity for a challenging and well-respected career, but there are additional advantages to the field you may not have considered. If you’re contemplating a career change or you’re seeking a promotion within the legal field, now is a good time to weigh the many personal and professional benefits of becoming a paralegal.

Becoming a Paralegal Offers You Career Longevity

It Offers You Career Longevity

As you pursue the paralegal profession, you will be standing on solid employment ground. In fact, job prospects are outstanding. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the paralegal field will grow by 17 percent through 2022 nationwide, much faster growth than for many other occupations.

It Will Pay You Well

According to, the average annual salary for paralegals in Tampa ranges from $47,652 to $60,842. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the national annual salary for paralegals is $52,180, with the highest average annual salary ($80,470) and highest employment rate in Washington.

Paralegals working for the federal government tend to make the most ($64,650 on average), and those working for state government tend to earn the least ($46,810 on average). Also, according to NALA, the National Association of Legal Assistants, paralegals who work for large firms with multiple lawyers tend to earn more than those at smaller firms.

It Sticks to a (Mostly) Predictable Work Schedule

When a trial or filing deadline looms, it is possible you will have to work more than 40 hours a week or a Saturday here and there, but you certainly will never have to be concerned about the graveyard shift. This is a tremendous benefit if you seek a career with a healthy work-life balance or if second- or third-shift work would make child care and family life a challenge. Paralegals work a standard workday. If you are a paralegal working for the government, you usually will have a day off whenever the courts are closed.

It Offers You the Prestige of Professional Certification

Paralegals can enter the field through formal education, on-the-job training, or a combination of both. Although the Florida Bar Association’s definition of a paralegal does not stipulate a college degree or specific certification, many firms seek and pay higher salaries to paralegals with formal credentials.

  • Certified Paralegal: For this designation, you must pass an exam offered by NALA.
  • Florida Certified Paralegal: If you pass the CP exam, you become eligible to sit for the Paralegal Association of Florida exam.
  • Florida Registered ParalegalQualified paralegals can seek this voluntary designation from the Florida Bar.

It Provides You Recognition and Advancement

With hard work and outstanding experience, you can expect career advancement within the paralegal field. Your firm or agency could promote you to paralegal director, litigation support manager, or paralegal supervisor, roles that bring increased salary and responsibilities.

One more fun element of recognition: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared an official Paralegal Day (in 2019, it was recognized on Oct. 23), which surely could earn you a long, laudatory lunch from your employer.

It Offers You the Potential to Be Your Own Boss

The gig economy is taking hold even in the legal field, with more and more law firms outsourcing work to paralegals who are independent contractors rather than staffers. Two common scenarios for law firms to hire a remote paralegal:

  1. With large legal departments that maintain a staff of paralegals, you may find freelance work during busy seasons (such as tax season) and when staffers are on vacation or take leave.
  2. With small legal departments that cannot justify the cost of keeping a full-time paralegal on staff, you may find work as a remote or temporary paralegal to manage the workload on an as-needed basis.

These staffing needs line up nicely with the results of UpWork’s annual Freelancing in America survey of 6,000 workers. For the 35 percent of the U.S. workforce who freelanced in 2019, the study found that it is not just temporary gig work that is on the rise: 28 percent of freelancers in all fields work full time as independent contractors, not staff employees. That trend appears to be on the rise, even for paralegals. If you like the idea of flexible self-employment, the paralegal profession is a strong contender.

It Presents You with a Variety of Career Specializations

Not only can you choose to work in almost any category of settings that are not law firms – banks, corporations, nonprofits, hospitals, government, judges’ staff – you can seek experience and certification in several areas of specialization, allowing you to mold your career to suit your personal interests and skills, as well as market demands.

  • Family law paralegal: Suitable for those who are adept with emotionally delicate situations, your work will regard custody disputes, the preparation of pleas, and drafting correspondence.
  • Intellectual property paralegal: Appropriate for those with project management skills and an interest in marketing (you often will help marketers in creating trademarks), your work will focus on copyright and trademark law, patents, and other intellectual property concerns.
  • Litigation paralegal: Ideal for those who like a fast pace and the high stakes of the courtroom, your work will be concerned with preparing for trial, overseeing discovery, and interviewing witnesses.
  • Real estate paralegal: A good choice for paralegals who hold a real estate license, your work will center on reviewing and filing documents, coordinating schedules, and handling correspondence related to zoning, transactions, and foreclosures.
  • Immigration paralegal: An excellent fit for bilingual paralegals, your work will focus on helping immigrants deal with visa applications and petitions related to deportation.
  • Corporate paralegal: Excellent for paralegals who prefer to be behind the scenes rather than interacting with clients and the court, your work will relate to research and reviewing contracts.
  • Estate and probate paralegal: A perfect fit for a paralegal who is good with numbers and has compassion for those dealing with end-of-life issues, your work will focus on wills, estates, distribution of property, deeds, and inheritance tax.

A Paralegal Certificate Presents You with a Variety of Career Specializations

It Suits Your Skills (and Adds New Ones)

Paralegals can be generalists or specialists, but all paralegals have a core set of skills. If you don’t match up with all of these qualities, training for and working as a paralegal will help you hone them.

  • You love writing and editing: Paralegals must draft flawless documents.
  • You’re organized: Paralegals prepare and maintain files.
  • You’re computer savvy: Paralegals with mastery of Word, Excel, Westlaw, and LexisNexis have a leg up when job-hunting.
  • You’re good with numbers: Paralegals often deal with tax issues, financial records, bankruptcy, amortization, the calculation of damages and settlements, and forfeitures, so math skills matter.
  • You love a deadline: Paralegals feel energized by a filing deadline or court date.

It Enables You to Serve the Public

Helping others is the essence of paralegal work. You will help your lawyers prepare cases, and you will help clients through difficult experiences in the legal system. If you are interested in the law because you are passionate about social justice, you might be a good fit for family law, immigration law, probate, bankruptcy, or environmental law. If you are interested in criminal law, you might consider working for a public defender.

We invite you to explore USF’s Paralegal Certificate Program, an exceptional course of study taught exclusively by sitting judges.

Tips for paralegals to improve client communication

The need to improve client communications is a challenge that many law firms find themselves faced with over the course of their practice. And as the central source of information, paralegals are often the main point of connection for clients, legal professionals, and court staff,

A study published in 2016 by the American Bar Association (ABA) found that 36 percent of the malpractice claims filed against attorneys from 1997 to 2007 were the result of miscommunication with clients. To address this issue, one of the best things that law firms can do is improve client communication. And this can require effort from the entire team.

5 Tips for Paralegals to Improve Client Communication | USF Corporate  Training and Professional Education

Enhancing paralegal-client communication

As the team member who typically has the most frequent contact with clients, paralegals are often called upon to act as a liaison between the client and the attorney. Paralegals answer questions and provide guidance and support to clients many times as a case proceeds toward resolution, particularly at the initial client interview, throughout the discovery process, and during trial preparation.

Paralegals can facilitate the understanding of complex information and avoid misunderstandings by following simple rules to improve client communication:

1.  Allow clients to speak for themselves…

and listen closely to what they have to say, relaying important information back to the attorney. Clients who don’t want to bother their attorneys with a lot of questions often feel more comfortable speaking with paralegals, particularly to obtain status updates and progress reports.

2.  Talk with clients in plain English…

not legalese, ensuring that they feel confident in their understanding of the details. Clients often look to paralegals for greater clarification of complex legal concepts that may be only briefly mentioned in legal proceedings and meetings with attorneys.

3.  Return phone calls as soon as possible.

Because attorneys are often mired in the details of a case and do not have time for extended phone conversations, paralegals can build client confidence by keeping the lines of communication open.

4.  Show courtesy and respect…

Client Satisfaction Strategies for Paralegals - Work Better Tips & Tutorials

in all client communications. Keeping topics professional and focused on the details of the case, if possible, avoiding personal conversations.

5.  Keep the details of a client’s case confidential.

An attorney’s obligation to keep client information confidential extends to the paralegal. Although it should go without saying, don’t talk to your clients about their case in public places; if you receive case-related text messages from clients, delete them immediately; and never reference your client’s case on social media.

6.  Repeat important information to clients in different ways…

and as often as necessary. Legal terms and concepts are difficult for most laypeople to grasp, and explaining them numerous times in various ways, preferably through the use of examples, can lead to greater client understanding of the procedures involved in their case.

7.  Provide clients with regular and periodic status updates…

on how their case is progressing. Frequent communication helps to reassure clients that there are no drastic issues with their case, while also building their confidence in the attorney and the entire legal team.

8.  Send copies of all documents to the client promptly…

with a breakdown of important points, if possible. Clients like to see concrete evidence of the work that is being done on their case, and pointing out critical events can be extremely beneficial in helping them understand that progress is being made.

9. Never give legal advice, and make it clear you are not a lawyer.

If you are relaying legal advice, make sure that the client comprehends that it comes from the attorney, not you. Clients often do not understand the part that each member of the legal team plays in their case, and you might be called upon to explain your role.

10.  Never make promises you can’t keep…

5 Tips for Paralegals to Improve Client Communication | USF Corporate  Training and Professional Education

such as when a case will settle or the potential value of a case, even if the client tries to press you to do so. The client might rely on these statements, creating a potential ethics problem for your attorney, and for you as well.

Paralegals are not attorneys, yet their work product is merged with and becomes part of the attorney work product for a client. If a paralegal uses effective communication skills, particularly with clients, this will improve the working process of the whole team, and further enhance the client’s relationship with the entire law firm.

The Advantages and Benefits of Public Service Work

Although there is a huge gap between the private sector and public interest salaries, public interest jobs offer a number of key advantages over private practice. Below are six advantages of public service work.The Advantages and Benefits of Public Service Work

Furthering the Public Good

A primary reason lawyers and others undertake public interest or pro bono work is to further the public good. Helping underserved people, groups, and causes can provide a feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement that you might not gain defending large corporations in private practice.

Public interest work can allow you to achieve greater goals beyond earning a paycheck, such as working to effect societal change, supporting an important public cause, or providing equal access to justice for needy individuals and organizations. In fact, the lowest-paid lawyers (typically those doing public interest work) report the highest levels of happiness.

Public interest and pro bono work also provide the opportunity to become involved in your local community by performing public service activities of a legal and non-legal nature. For students, it is sometimes easier to find internships with public interest employers than with law firms and for-profit organizations, who tend to hire on a very limited basis for summer jobs. And it’s sometimes possible to get funding for your public interest summer job from your law school or from a nationwide public interest organization, such as Equal Justice Works.5 Reasons You Should Take a Job in Public Sector Procurement - Public Spend  Forum

Valuable Work Experience

Law students, new lawyers, paralegals, and other legal professionals can gain valuable work experience through internships in the public interest sector or via pro bono work in law school. Such experience is important at a time when jobs are scarce; many employers do not have the time or resources to train new attorneys and legal personnel.

Since small firms want to hire candidates who can hit the ground running, and large firms often funnel substantive legal work to experienced associates, working in the public interest sector can help you gain the work experience you need. Public interest work is a great stepping stone to private practice and employers appreciate a commitment to public service.

Better Work-Life Balance

Public interest jobs typically offer a better work-life balance than law firm jobs. Nine-to-five work days, flexible schedules, and part-time opportunities are common in the public interest sector. Unlike private practice, individuals employed in non-profits, the government, and legal service organizations are not under pressure to meet high billable hour quotas, gain face-time with partners, or spend free time on client development activities. The work culture is often more relaxed because the focus is on service rather than profit.

Exposure to Multiple Practice Areas

When you join a law firm, you are typically assigned to a specific practice group. However, public service and pro bono work can help new grads explore a variety of practice areas while performing valuable work. At a legal service organization, for example, you might assist with a variety of cases ranging from landlord/tenant and immigration issues to child custody and civil rights. You will gain valuable insight and useful knowledge in the procedural and substantive issues surrounding many areas of law.

Mentoring and Networking Opportunities

If you are a student or a new graduate, public interest and pro bono work can also help you gain mentors, networking contacts, and job references. While law firms and corporations are often focused on the bottom line, public interest venues are less focused on profit.

Therefore, they may offer more time to develop mentoring relationships and contacts. And taking on a pro bono project organized by the local bar association can be a great way to meet practicing attorneys in areas of particular interest since they often volunteer to serve as mentors to newer volunteers.

Recognition and Honors

Lawyers have an ethical obligation to provide public service and give back to the community. This duty also extends to some other legal professionals, such as paralegals. Many law firms and legal organizations recognize and honor lawyers and legal professionals who have demonstrated leadership in their community by engaging in public service and pro bono activities.

Hiring managers also appreciate a commitment to pro bono and public service work. Therefore, this type of work experience can be a resume booster.

Reasons to Pursue a Career in Paralegal Studies

Do you have a passion for helping others? Do you also have a passion for learning about aspects of the legal field? Do you aspire to have a career with a promising salary and long-term job security? If you answered yes, these are some of the many reasons you should consider getting a degree in paralegal studies.

Five Reasons to Become a Paralegal

What are the Benefits of a Paralegal Career?

  1. Salary – The median annual wage for paralegals and legal assistants was $51,740 in May 2019 and will continue to rise.
  2. Job Security – The outlook for the paralegal industry is extremely strong and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession is projected to grow much faster than other occupations, expanding by more than 12 percent by 2028.
  3. Work Environment – Becoming a paralegal provides flexibility in different areas you can work in outside of a courtroom. A paralegal can work in corporations, real estate, and hospitals. Paralegals can work as a discovery liaison, legal administrator of business, claims adjuster/investigator, tax preparer, list management, bankruptcy petition preparer, compliance, real estate, and title insurance paralegal, government paralegal, and nursing paralegal.
  4. Communication and People Skills – Being a paralegal offers the opportunity to enhance your communication and people skills. Being able to communicate well is at the heart of being a paralegal. A paralegal will always be communicating, whether via the phone, email, memo, letter, or in-person – communication needs to be concise and to the point. People skills will help you to listen better and be more attentive when dealing with clients.
  5. Opportunity for Growth – Paralegals can advance within the law firm as well as their career. Many paralegals advance to supervisor or management positions.
  6. Helping Others – Being a paralegal gives you the opportunity to help others, many of them suffering through a difficult experience in their lives. It is very rewarding to help someone during a difficult process and see the benefit they receive from your services.
  7. Self-Employment – Paralegals can choose to freelance as independent contractors under the direct supervision of an attorney. They can work from home or in an office and set their own schedule.
  8. Law School – For some paralegals, the love of law that they develop as paralegals leads them to attend law school. Their paralegal background gives them a definite advantage over someone with no experience in the industry.

Why UC Online is the perfect fit?

What do Paralegals do? The Growing Trend of Non-Traditional Applications of  a Paralegal Degree

  • 100% online: no campus visits are required.
  • Part-time and full-time scheduling: have the flexibility to balance work and family obligations while completing your degree.
  • American Bar Association approved.
  • All instructors have licensed attorneys with extensive experience working with paralegals.
  • High job placement rate.

If you are interested in starting the path to this rewarding and fulfilling career as a paralegal, please contact us to get started today!

Reasons that Investing in Paralegal Training Can Boost Your Firm

A leader is only as good as their team. And a team is a reflection of its leader. These two units work together to create success.

Running A Successful Law Firm takes dedication, persistence, and hard work. It also takes a great paralegal team.

But without proper paralegal training, your employees may not have the skills needed to take your law firm to the next level. Investing in paralegal training means investing in the future of your firm.

Read on to discover 11 reasons that making this investment is in your best interest.

The Importance of Paralegal Training

You can’t hire a new paralegal and expect them to know exactly what you need. Even with prior experience, your new employee won’t understand the specific techniques your law firm uses unless you train them.

Investing in paralegal training ensures that your team works within the law and your office policies. It also equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully fill their position.

Here are a few more reasons to sign your staff up for paralegal training.

1. Improved Communication

This goes for both communications between you and your paralegal, as well as between them and your clients. When it comes to important legal issues, Communication Is Key.

Misinterpreting even a few simple words can create chaos in the courtroom. Paralegal training teaches employees how to effectively communicate using the correct verbiage.

Paralegals will also learn the difference between urgent matters and those that are less time-sensitive. Clients can contact the law office via phone and email. Paralegals can field certain inquiries and pass pertinent information and other questions onto the lawyer.

Training will prepare your paralegals for communicating appropriately with clients and other attorneys if needed.

2. Portrays Professionalism

Your firm’s paralegal staff should carry themselves in a professional manner at all times. Training will help teach them what behaviors are and aren’t appropriate.

When dealing with clients, paralegals must stay neutral. Becoming personally involved with a client or case is unethical. Giving legal advice of any kind is illegal.

Your paralegal team should portray themselves in the same way you do. After all, they’re the voice and face of your firm when you can’t be. It’s also important they understand what information is confidential.

3. Understanding Their Role

Paralegals have a specific role in every law firm and proper training guarantees they understand their duties. There are certain jobs that, by law, paralegals cannot perform.

These include:

  • Giving legal advice
  • Negotiating legal fees
  • Suggesting answers for trial or depositions

If a paralegal unknowingly preps a witness for trial or provides legal advice, both you and the accused will find themselves in hot water. This is considered practicing law without a valid license.

But there are many jobs that paralegals can perform and, when done right, will benefit your law firm. Here are a few examples:

  • Report writing
  • Organizing files
  • Answering phone calls
  • Fielding appropriate client questions
  • Conducting research

Paralegal training courses teach new hires these skills and ensure they understand the difference between fielding client questions and offering legal advice.

4. The Ability to Take on More Clients

Importance of Paralegals in Investment Firm - Northwest Career College

With more help in the office, your law firm can take on more clients. This will increase your workload, but the paralegal will help offset this. More clients also mean more income.

You can also offer paralegal on-the-job training which means the employee gets to learn the inner workings of your specific office. Every law firm uses different techniques and practices. The best way to train a paralegal to perform according to your standards is to provide the training yourself.

Once the paralegal is well-versed in your office etiquette, you’ll have an extra set of hands to help juggle more clientele.

5. Faster Turnaround Time

Like any other business, your clients expect fast results. And if there’s one process that can drag on for an eternity, it’s the legal one. Whether you’re handling divorce cases, accidents, or criminal cases, time is of the essence.

A properly trained paralegal can help research cases, file documents, make phone calls, and schedule appointments. This speeds up the process and could increase turnaround time, which benefits both you and your clients.

Most civil cases take between 2 and 3 years to settle. If appeals or other complications occur, some cases can take as long as 10 years to be resolved. Having a trained paralegal team means sharing the workload and, hopefully, closing cases sooner.

6. Provides a Solid Foundation

All paralegals enter the workforce with a Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies. This gives them a solid foundation for what the Position Of A Paralegal Requires. But more training never hurt.

The world of law is constantly changing. It’s important for paralegals to understand and adapt to these changes. A solid foundation is the perfect jumping-off point.

Some paralegal training even offers information about new and upcoming changes to the current laws.

7. Teaches Other Useful Skills

A good paralegal has other skills outside of those related to law. A paralegal’s job requires interacting with clients, answering phones, understanding your filing and computer system, and research.

Through paralegal training, your hires will sharpen these additional skills and learn how to apply them at work. Taking notes, typing quickly and accurately, and learning new and efficient ways to Store And Dispose Of Files are all skills paralegals can benefit from learning.

8. Offers Guidance

As wonderful as it would be for you to walk your paralegal team through every one of your procedures, it’s just not practical. You have enough on your plate when it comes to trial prep and client meetings.

Sending your paralegals for training gives them guidance and direction. During training, paralegals can address any questions or concerns. This helps clear up confusion and reaffirms the knowledge they already have.

9. Reduces Confusion

Confusion equals mistakes. And you can’t afford to make mistakes. Not when someone’s money, life, business, or marriage is on the line.

Proper training for your paralegal team means clear and concise directions. Paralegals will learn exactly how you want things done and what your expectations are.

In time, your paralegal will learn the specific routines and procedures your law office follows. These may differ from previous firms they’ve worked in, making job-specific training even more important.

When your employees have a clear understanding of their job description and requirements, it means fewer questions, fewer mistakes, and fewer headaches for everyone.

10. Boosts Confidence

A Confident Employee is a productive employee. When your paralegal is confident in their abilities, it shows. Both in their work and in their interactions with clients.

And what better way to boost confidence than offering additional training and information? The more knowledgeable your paralegal team is, the more capable they’ll be to handle the workload.

Confident employees are often happier and more positive, which makes for a pleasant work environment. Happy employees accept more responsibility, take on extra work, and are always eager to learn.

Through paralegal training, your employees will find confidence and abilities they never knew they had.

11. Makes Your Job Easier

One of the biggest complaints clients have about their lawyers (besides the cost) is that they don’t hear from them enough. Let’s face it, some clients need a lot of attention. They’re likely dealing with a life-altering situation and require lots of time and attention.

Unfortunately, these clients aren’t your only ones. Lawyers are swamped with preparing for trial, gathering information, giving legal advice, and networking. This makes it impossible to answer every client’s question and update them regularly.

This is where your paralegal staff comes into play. They can easily handle client inquiries about case status and relay messages between you and the client.

Knowing you have a trained, capable paralegal team at the helm, allows you to relax and turn your attention to the more rigorous, legal work.

Invest in Success

Master of Business Administration in Leadership | MBA in Leadership

Offering paralegal training may seem redundant or unnecessary, but in the long run, it’s an investment in the success of your law firm. Your business is only as good as its employees.

Paralegals can apply their newfound knowledge and skills to the position, resulting in quality work and happy clients. This reflects positively on you and your office.

Giving your paralegal team the right tools and resources will only increase their chances of success. Check Out Our Custom Tabs to help your paralegals keep your files neat and organized.

5 Great Blogs for Paralegals


Legal Blogs Great for Paralegals

  • The Estrin Report
  • Law Actually
  • Lawyerist
  • Digital Paralegal Services
  • The Paralegal Society

For those working as or even aspiring to become a paralegal, blogs for paralegals can be an amazingly beneficial resource to tap into. From industry veterans to educational scholars, many of these blogs’ authors are a source to truly be valued. Having researched quite a bit on the topic, we’ve found five blogs that are perfectly curtailed to those in the paralegal field.

1. The Estrin Report

The Estrin Report is a great, all-around, informational resource for paralegals. Not focusing on any particular area of the field, its focus is broad and covers many topics. Readers can find information regarding paralegal certification and education, office politics, records processing, and all other things with regard to working as a paralegal.

The Estrin Report is maintained by legal guru, Cher Estrin. Estrin is a chairperson, CEO, and editor-in-chief for, KNOW Magazine, and the Paralegal Knowledge Institute, respectively. With this said, her voice is one of great insight. A side of the charm is also instilled in the blog’s style through Estrin’s witty and sometimes sarcastic writing style.

2. Law Actually

Law Actually is a great blog for paralegals. It is another example of a broad-based, any-topic-covered paralegal blog. This popular choice is consistent with postings and is seldom a boring read. Topics range from legal strategy and court psychology, all the way to social media uses and grammatical correctness in written correspondence.

Another popular draw to this blog is the relative ease with which the visitor can communicate with the blog’s author. The blog is authored by an experienced attorney and blogger.

3. Lawyerist

Of all of the blogs researched for this list, Lawyerist is the most personal and psychology-focused offering in the group. Readers here are treated to topics that are more in tune with personal conduct, philosophy, self-betterment, and things more of a seemingly personal nature. Some recently covered topics of the popular blog have included client negotiation tactics, personal writing skills, and enhancing creative problem-solving skills. The layout, categorization, and ease of navigation are also a great benefit to those perusing the volumes here.

4. Digital Paralegal Services

Rather than providing a wide range of topics, this blog sticks to the aspects of technological involvement in today’s legal work. Although not posting as regularly as some of the others on this list, the Digital Paralegal Services Blog is quite popular and valuable to those most concerned with this modernization aspect of working in the legal system.

5. The Paralegal Society

The Paralegal Society defines itself well, stating that it is “a forum created to educate, motivate and inspire paralegals to engage in the pursuit of excellence for all paralegal kind.” As so described, this particular blog has become increasingly valued in the world of blogs for paralegals. Information contained therein is wide-ranging, valuable, and always directly pertinent to the field of paralegal work.

This blog is also quite interactive, giving readers a chance to post their own thoughts on articles as well as contact the authors directly. These authors include a myriad of seasoned veterans in addition to site founder and legal expert, Jamie Collins. In addition, for more off-the-cuff ramblings on paralegal thinking, the section entitled “The ‘Rant’” is particularly insightful and entertaining.

For practicing and up-and-coming paralegals alike, these blogs represent a plethora of readily available resources. Today’s professionals are fortunate to have such commodities afforded by our modern world. For more on today’s best blogs for paralegals, as well as for all other authoritative resources on the subject, the American Association for Paralegal Education is a great place to direct additional inquiry.

Things All Attorneys Expect from Paralegals

Duties You Can Expect to Perform as a Paralegal

When I became a paralegal in 1984, it was very common for paralegals to sit at their desks all day with their headphones on and type a variety of documents such as motions, pleadings, and correspondence, dictated by an attorney via the Dictaphone.  The role of the paralegal has since evolved from secretarial typists or transcribers to highly qualified staff members who perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.

Since the paralegal profession has evolved to include more substantive legal work, those wishing to become a paralegal usually seek formal training to gain the legal knowledge necessary to work alongside an attorney.  But in order to really excel in the paralegal profession, there are several characteristics and skills that are important to possess and develop in addition to legal knowledge.   After working as a paralegal, I went to law school and became an attorney and employer of paralegals, so I’ve seen first-hand the characteristics and skills that make a paralegal exceptional.  Here are 5 things that every attorney expects from his or her paralegal:

1.  Punctuality & Attendance

Attorneys’ expectations are often very simple – be present and on time.  Should any extreme circumstances arise that cause one to be absent or late, you must call and let your attorney know?  Being late can wreak havoc on an attorney if they need you to be in the office.  When I was an attorney, I recall one time I was in court and needed some information; however, much to my dismay and frustration, calling my office every five minutes didn’t make my paralegal magically appear at her desk.

Attendance and punctuality are some of the simplest yet most important things a paralegal can achieve in a job. Punctual paralegals with outstanding attendance are indispensable to an attorney.paralegals with communication and organization skills

2.  Communication Skills

Paralegals need to be good communicators, constantly developing both their written and verbal skills.  Writing skills are vital to a paralegal’s success.  When writing petitions, briefs, and even business letters, paralegals must be able to write properly structured sentences and utilize correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  It is imperative that paralegals proofread their work, use spell check, check for grammatical errors, and focus on proper writing techniques.

Excellent verbal skills will also help a paralegal communicate effectively, and will cut down on misunderstandings and increase a paralegal’s productivity.  Upon receipt of work instructions from an attorney, paralegals who are effective communicators will ask questions and seek clarification on their work assignments.

Not only is it important for paralegals to communicate well with their attorneys, but let’s not forget about the clients. Paralegals can assist their attorneys by mastering the kind of communication that clients appreciate, answering and making phone calls, sending copies of documents, and answering emails.

3.  Language Skills

Attorneys expect paralegals to know general legal terms that are commonly used, such as depositions, interrogatories, and requests for admissions in all areas of law.  The legal profession is full of written materials which require paralegals to continuously expand their vocabulary.  A dictionary can be advantageous to a paralegal in learning to master both the English language and the language of law.

4.  Organizational Skills

Organizational skills are paramount to being an effective paralegal.  They facilitate a paralegal’s ability to create and manage calendar systems, track court dates, and meet filing deadlines.  Additionally, legal research materials, such as case law, must be organized in a method that they can be easily navigated and retrieved.  Documents in a legal case are useless unless they are properly filed and indexed so the documents may be pulled quickly and easily at any time.

5.  Technology skills

Today’s most sought-after paralegal skills are technology skills.  Employers do not want to teach you how to use a computer.  It is expected that a paralegal will know how to operate and navigate a computer and legal software proficiently.  In addition, litigation support and e-filing are becoming commonplace in the legal field.  It’s important during your paralegal training and on the job to learn to use various paperless court filing systems and be able to successfully file and manage documents online.

What is a Paralegal? Job Description, Careers, Training Requirements

It takes more than just legal knowledge to be an excellent paralegal.  It takes hands-on skills and an organized and reliable personality.  Many of the skills listed above can be developed and worked on during your paralegal education.  Are you interested in developing your paralegal skills at the Center for Advanced Legal Studies?  We’re here to give you a competitive paralegal education complete with job-ready skills, and we’re committed to our student’s success.

What I Wish I Knew BEFORE Becoming a Paralegal

Choosing your profession can feel like one of the most crucial decisions you will make. It’s understandable to second-guess yourself. Shows like Law and OrderHow to Get Away with Murder or Better Call Saul may have piqued your interest in the legal realm, but is that interest enough to fuel a career?

Of all the potential courtroom jobs out there, a paralegal career is one of the fastest tracks you can take to your first day on the job. But the time it takes to gain the proper knowledge and training is still an investment. You want to be sure that it’s worth your time.

Take a moment to learn some of the gritty details of working as a paralegal—from the mouths of paralegals and the lawyers who hire them. Use this expert insight to help you make an informed decision.

But first, let’s cover the basics…

What does a paralegal do?

Benefits of Becoming a Paralegal | USF Corporate Training and Professional  Education

You’ve likely done some research on your own, but it’s always beneficial to have all of your information in one place. What does a paralegal do? Basically, they help their attorneys keep things organized and running smoothly by doing important legal legwork.

Those duties, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), can include assisting attorneys during trials, organizing case files, preparing trial notes, performing legal research, preparing legal briefs and sometimes conducting client and witness interviews.1

“Most paralegal jobs require paralegals to work on contracts, real estate, civil lawsuits and other legal needs,” says Kirk Olson, a lawyer and instructor at Rasmussen University. “One case may require multiple areas of law. For instance, a divorce often requires a paralegal to obtain and review real estate, pension, insurance, business and estate planning documents, not just child custody studies.”

Paralegals are generally detail oriented, organized and efficient. Because duties can vary greatly based on the size of the firm or the supervising attorneys, they must also be adaptable.

How to become a paralegal

One of the most common concerns for anyone looking into starting in this field is the amount of education needed—as well as how long it takes to become a paralegal. The path to becoming a paralegal can look very different from one person to the next.

But the BLS states that the most common educational path that leads to work as a paralegal is an Associate’s degree, which can be completed in as a few as 18 months.1,2 That said, if you’ve already earned a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in a different field, a Paralegal Certificate program can provide you with the specialized knowledge base you’ll need on the job without requiring more years of schooling—in fact, this Certificate program can be completed in as few as 8 months.2

What to expect from the Paralegal Certificate program

This program is designed to supplement education from a different field. If you already have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in any area, a Paralegal Certificate program can give you the legal basics a paralegal needs to know while building upon the foundation of general education courses you’ve already completed.

In this kind of paralegal program, you’ll take courses like Introduction to Legal Research, Legal Writing and Law Office Management. Ethical communication, interdisciplinary awareness and emerging technology are important objectives of this program.

What to expect from a Paralegal Associate’s degree program

Paralegal Associate’s degree program will give you an essential basis for work as a paralegal (as well as other careers) with foundational classes in English composition, math and the humanities. But the bulk of your studies will focus on skill and knowledge areas specific to the legal world and the paralegal duties within it.

Courses like Torts, Contracts and Family Law zoom in on complex subjects in the legal realm, while other courses such as Computer Applications and Business Systems Concepts, Legal Writing and Legal Research help you build the critical skill sets paralegals need.

A Paralegal degree will provide you with the skills needed to succeed in the field, but there will be a host of things you won’t learn until you’re on the job. For some additional insights, we asked paralegal professionals to share the things they wish they’d known before starting their careers.

What is a paralegal career like?

Third-party litigation funding | Canadian Lawyer

“You will work hard and long hours, but it’s worth it,” says paralegal and Rasmussen University Justice Studies instructor Julia Gordon. Gordon explains that paralegals carry a lot of weight on their shoulders and every detail matters.

“There is no room for error in tracking deadlines and working with court scheduling,” says Kevin Queenan of The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. “Mentoring legal assistants, I hear the same issue every time: I did not know you meant that detail oriented!” Queenan emphasizes that miniscule mistakes can have big consequences in the legal world. Having a bad day won’t cut it as an excuse if your mistake costs the firm a case, or worse, accusations of malpractice.

Yet, Queenan points out, people with the right personality can flourish in this position. Paralegals can take jobs with varied daily tasks and experiences if that is what they are looking for. “In a general civil practice … the legal assistant may be answering discovery [requests] one day and driving out to meet a new client the next day.”

“For those who like more structure or repetition, there are law practices involving cookie-cutter lawsuits and issues. I talked to a legal assistant yesterday, and her last position involved filing 1,000 credit card lawsuits per month,” Queenan explains.

“Don’t go into the job with rose-colored glasses,” Gordon says. You might picture working in an office full of driven individuals who want to help their clients fix injustices. But unfortunately, it isn’t always like that.

“Not all attorneys are nice, and not all attorneys are ethical,” Gordon says. “Be aware of your ethical rules and guidelines and never compromise your integrity. Nothing is worth losing your self-respect over. You have your clients’ lives in your hands. Treat the position with the highest reverence.”

What is the average paralegal salary?

While not every aspect of a paralegal’s work is considered glamorous, that’s really no different from most jobs. After all, there’s a reason you get paid to work. But is that pay enough to support you and your responsibilities? That’s up to you to decide.

The median annual paralegal salary in 2018 was $50,940, according to the BLS.2 That’s $12,300 more than the national average of $38,640 for all occupations.2 This is pretty encouraging for a job that doesn’t require a Bachelor’s degree or hazardous working conditions.

Which paralegal skills matter most?

In this legal career, certain personalities and particular skill sets are better poised for success than others. If you are considering work as a paralegal, make sure you fit the bill by the time you apply.

“An effective [paralegal] must be computer savvy,” Queenan says. She adds that good legal assistants don’t overreact under pressure, are highly organized and care about the small details.

“Being kind and helpful is a good start,” Olson says. But Olson emphasizes that helpfulness won’t land you the job. “Lawyers hire paralegals because a good paralegal will find flaws in documents and assist with billing and other detailed functions that keep a law office working. A good paralegal is a ‘deadline cop’ who keeps the law firm on track.”

Olson says paralegals are expected to catch errors made by others and remind everyone of important dates. “Finding and warning of a deadline that others missed may prevent a loss of a client’s case and may save a $10,000 deductible in a lawyer’s malpractice claim,” Olson adds.

All that detail checking includes spelling and grammar. Olson says paralegals correct citation mistakes, grammar errors and other inaccuracies. Fine-tuning your writing and editing abilities is vital for success as a paralegal—that, as well as technical proficiency.

“A person considering becoming a legal assistant should take the highest level of available training on Word, WordPerfect and Westlaw,” Queenan says. “A technologically proficient [paralegal] will wow their lawyers more often and command a higher salary and raises.”

How to stand out as a paralegal

If you are mentally checking off some of those skill boxes—that’s a great sign. While detail-oriented professionals with strong writing and computer skills are important in this profession, there are ways to stand out even more.

Queenan recommends seeking training in client interactions, etiquette and communication skills since presenting a professional image to clients is incredibly important. Pay close attention to verbal slip-ups—no one wants to hear their legal help sounding careless. You want to make sure you are representing yourself, your clients and, ultimately, your practice as best as you can. This includes being able to communicate in a professional manner.

Additionally, Queenan suggests learning more about research materials on the internet. “We are suing a major manufacturer, and my legal assistant found several articles that were helpful to our lack of warning claims. The information was free!”

Olson suggests asking for examples of finished case files when you take work as a paralegal to see samples of what completed and professional work looks like for that firm. “And be assertive. If something does not look right, insist that it be explained or fixed.”

Are you cut out to become a paralegal?

Paralegals play an integral role in a firm’s success. Every document filed, every interview conducted and every ounce of collected research matters.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to work in the exciting legal world you’re used to seeing on TV, the paralegal profession may be the perfect career choice for you. Not only can it help you pay the bills, but it will challenge you intellectually and provide you with valuable professional experience to reach your long-term career goals.

Top Five Skills to Look for When Hiring a Paralegal

An indispensable paralegal has an ability to multitask, strong attention to detail, a willingness to learn, expertise in organization, and psychic abilities.

What is a paralegal and when might you use one? | Business Law Donut

According to NALA: The Paralegal Association’s Model Standards and Guidelines for Utilization of Paralegals,

Paralegals are a distinguishable group of persons who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. Through formal education, training, and experience, paralegals have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney.

If you are a litigation attorney who has never utilized the assistance of a paralegal, here are the top five things you should look for when hiring a paralegal.

The Wisdom Of WSIB Fluent Paralegals - Goodman Elbassiouni LLP

  1. Ability to multitask. Litigation can move at an extremely fast and unpredictable pace. It is very important for your litigation paralegal to possess the ability to pivot and move on to a new task at the drop of a hat and be able to maintain accuracy throughout daily tasks even with that shift in focus.
  2. Strong attention to detail. The paralegal is often the last person to provide feedback on any documents being submitted to the court, client, opposing parties, or opposing counsel. Having an eye for catching even the smallest spelling, grammar, or formatting mistakes is a great quality in a paralegal. It is also important for the paralegal to pick out details of anything coming into the firm such as deadlines and reminders that need to be calendared and follow-up tasks that need to be completed.
  3. Willingness to learn. Most state bars require continuing legal education for attorneys as the legal world is always evolving. A paralegal’s willingness to continue their education and the attorney’s acceptance of providing the time and means for their paralegal to continue their education is imperative. Local and statewide paralegal associations are great ways for paralegals to get the education and support they need to continue growing in the legal field.
  4. Expertise in the organization. It is the paralegal’s duty to maintain the litigation files. Whether you work with paper or electronic files, there should be no question that anyone who picks up that file looking for a specific item should be able to find that item with ease and without asking where the item is.
  5. Psychic abilities. That might be slightly facetious, but a litigation paralegal should know the case to the extent they can anticipate issues that may arise and already have in place a plan to mitigate the issues. This also relates to tasks the attorney can have the paralegal handle. A paralegal that knows a mediation statement needs to be done and gets a draft of the statement to the attorney before the attorney has to ask for it is indispensable to that attorney.

4 Key Roles for Paralegals in Trial Prep | Business of Law Blog

5 Most Important Paralegal Traits

8 traits of a methodical paralegal (and why you should be one) - One Legal

Can we just choose five traits as the most important paralegal traits that you must possess to succeed in a paralegal career? In my opinion, the answer is “no.” The paralegal profession has grown and expanded over the last few decades to encompass so many different positions and roles that it would be impossible to choose just five traits as the most important traits you need to have in order to be a successful paralegal. Furthermore, paralegals now work in numerous related fields that go far beyond a law firm. Therefore, the skills and paralegal traits a person needs to succeed depends more on the type of job, the industry, and the paralegal’s role than the standard definition of a “good paralegal.”

What is a Paralegal?

Top 8 Skills of Successful Paralegals | Fremont College

Before we can choose traits that define a “good paralegal,” we need to understand the definition of a paralegal. Two of the most commonly used definitions of a paralegal come from the National Association of Paralegals (NALA) and the American Bar Association (ABA). Both definitions are extremely similar.

NALA: “Legal assistants (also known as paralegals) are a distinguishable group of persons who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. Through formal education, training, and experience, legal assistants have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law, which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney.”

ABA: “A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

Both definitions require a paralegal to have the training, education, and experience in order to perform their duties as a paralegal. Neither of these definitions explains what traits or characteristics make a paralegal successful. However, a simple internet search reveals hundreds of articles claiming to explain the traits and characteristics required to be a paralegal. In theory, paralegals possessing these traits or characteristics will be successful in their chosen careers. However, further examination of these traits reveals that most of them are really skills rather than traits or characteristics.

Some of the most common “traits or characteristics” listed in articles related to this topic include:

  • Highly organized (this is on 99% of the lists you’ll find)
  • Good communication skills (another popular “trait or characteristic” associated with paralegals)
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • Good computer skills
  • Pays close attention to detail
  • Works well independently
  • Works well under pressure
  • Maintains a professional attitude

When I look back through these “traits and characteristics,” I notice that all of them are skills that a person can develop or grow if they have the desire. You can take courses to learn and enhance your research, writing, and computer skills and there are numerous seminars that teach you how to be more professional, handle pressure, become more organized, and be more attentive to detail.

Yes, some paralegals will have a greater natural aptitude in some of these areas, and, yes, that probably does give those paralegals an edge on those of us who need to develop our skills.

5 Personality Traits of a Great Paralegal

Let’s go beyond the “canned” list of skills or traits that make a great paralegal and do a deep dive – what actually helps someone excel in the paralegal field?

I thought back through the many paralegals I have had hired (and fired) and those I’ve had the privilege to work with over the past 26 years. I found five personality traits that each of the paralegals who rose to the top of their profession had in common.

Good Judgment

Will Rogers said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” I believe this is true (I have learned many lessons from the bad decisions I have made during my career). I also believe that some people have a stronger ability to make good judgments because of their other personality traits discussed below (i.e. patience and logic) just as good judgment enhances other qualities of a great paralegal (i.e. ingenuity and persistence).

How Do We Define “Good Judgment?”  First, we must look at the definition of “judgment.” MacMillan defines judgment as “your ability to understand a situation well and make good decisions.” Merriam-Webster expands the definition of judgment to “the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought.”

When you break down those definitions and apply them to a paralegal, you can see that having good judgment is essential if you are to be a great paralegal.  Unfortunately, there is not a class on “using good judgment” that I am aware of that truly helps an individual comprehend when and how to use good judgment. A professor or coach can give you tips and examples of when and how to use good judgment. However, you either have the ability to make good judgments or you learn it through your mistakes (if you are humble enough to learn from those mistakes).

Going back to the definition of “judgment,” a great paralegal has the “ability to understand” a problem or situation and decide whether to involve the attorney or move forward independently. A great paralegal also understands the process and time involved in “forming an opinion or making a decision” only after careful thought and research. Paralegals who rush to a conclusion simply to finish the task or impress their boss often make poor or rash decisions that adversely affect the client and the attorney.

Let’s consider the following real-life example. A family law client was in a highly contested custody dispute. Both parents were pulling out all stops and slinging, in some cases manufacturing, as much mud at each other as possible to win custody. Our client confided in one of our paralegals that she had an affair years ago right after the couple was married. The client begged the paralegal not to tell anyone because it only happed once and it was a terrible mistake that caused him great embarrassment. The paralegal felt sorry for the client and used her own judgment to reason that the affair occurred roughly 22 years ago. If the spouse were going to find out about the affair, she would have done so by now so the paralegal never divulged this information to anyone until after the final hearing.

In this case, the paralegal’s assumptions were correct and the affair never did come up in the court proceedings. Did the paralegal use good judgment? Absolutely not. Paralegals are not attorneys – we do not have law degrees nor are we licensed to practice law. We support the attorney as they practice law in the representation of a client. As a paralegal we receive thousands of pieces of information that we must process. Some goes to the attorney but some does not. This paralegal didn’t use good judgment in this decision and that was a hard lesson to learn.


Paralegal Program – Voices – the Blogs of

Arlen Specter: “If you are going to have to play defense all the time, you cannot have the kind of ingenuity, assertiveness, independence, and intelligence which is what has made our country strong.

Okay, you’re wondering what I believe this has to do with being a great paralegal. When we look at the definition of “ingenuity” it gives a clearer picture.

Merriam-Webster defines ingenuity as “the quality of being clever, original, and inventive.”

Another word for ingenuity – resourceful. Great paralegals are resourceful and innovative. In other words, they play offense by having the “ingenuity, assertiveness, independence, and intelligence” to tackle issues and problems before being told to do so by an attorney. If you see something that needs to be done, be assertive and independent enough to tackle the problem before the quarterback hands you the ball.

Ingenuity goes a few steps further than simply grabbing the ball. Once you have the ball, run with it. Be resourceful and inventive when searching for solutions to the problem. If you can’t find a solution, use your other skills to develop a solution of you own to present to the attorney. However, use your good judgment to know when to stop running down the field and reset with the quarterback (attorney) to confirm the play is legal.

I hate to use tired, old clichés but great paralegals do think “outside of the box” rather than accept what is presented to them. This ability ties directly into the personality traits for being logical and having persistence.


Macmillan defines logic as  connecting ideas or reasons in a sensible way.”  However, Albert Einstein said, ” Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

When we view the definition of logical in the light of Einstein’s quote, we conclude that a great paralegal can start at “A” and arrive at “B” using reason and careful thought. However, along the way the paralegal must use good judgment to avoid mistakes and may need some ingenuity to make “B” the outcome that the client and attorney desire.

Paralegals must deal with the abstract, complex, and ambiguous elements of the law. A great paralegal must be able to think logically and analytically to identify and evaluate key concepts and facts related to a specific case. This personality trait also enhances the paralegal’s ability to communicate facts and conclusions in a clear, concise manner to the attorney — a skill that is at the very core of being a great paralegal.

Again, paralegal courses and other educational or coaching courses can help a person develop their logic and reasoning skills. There are undoubtedly some paralegals with a natural “Sherlock Holmes” personality trait that makes them extremely analytical and logical. A paralegal who is able to use logic to carefully analyze the case, remove the irrelevant factors, and concentrate on what is truly important is an asset to the firm. In the words of Holmes, “Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.”


Merriam-Webster defines persistence as ” the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said, ” It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Both of the above quotes relate to a paralegal’s ability to be persistent. Some people give up when they run into an obstacle (i.e. the dark). They refuse to continue to search for a key (i.e. the solution) because it’s too difficult. A great person will light another candle, and another candle, and ten more candles until there is sufficient light to locate the key. If the candles don’t work, they’ll try something else rather than give up.

It would be wonderful if everything had a quick “fix” so we could make it off our to-do list for the day. Clients would be thrilled if we could settle their cases in a day or two rather than a year or two. Paralegals who are always searching for the easy, quick way to handle a case or a problem often quit when things get really tough.

On the other hand, great paralegals keep going regardless of how tough it may seem right then. They don’t  “curse the darkness” because they are too busy lighting more candles to keep moving forward instead of standing still or retreating. Quitting is not in the vocabulary of a great paralegal who is persistent. If all else fails, a great paralegal will draw on their personality characteristics of logic and ingenuity to find other ways to solve the problem.

Persistence also breeds consistency and commitment. A great paralegal is one who is committed to the law firm, the attorney, and the client instead of being committed to the job. The job is what we do because we need to earn a living. A great paralegal consistently goes beyond the “job description” to make things happen while using good judgment to know when to involve the attorney or a supervisor.


Able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people” is how Merriam-Webster defines “patient.” This is one of my biggest character flaws — I am highly impatient. People get on my nerves in general but difficult people are the worst.

As a paralegal, you will always deal with difficult people and their problems. That’s your job. From your attorney and other attorneys to your client, experts, witnesses, co-workers, and others (the list goes on forever), you will be dealing with difficult people. Think of how your own problems can drive you to lose your patience. Now imagine dealing with a client’s problems and the client is demanding and difficult. It’s easy to lose your patience but a great paralegal has the patience of Job.

Joyce Meyer said,  Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” A paralegal who is patient doesn’t sit around waiting for a miracle to fall in their lap nor do they curse the problem. Job was patient but he did not curse what happened to him nor did he simply give up. A great paralegal will rely on their other skills and traits to continue working toward the ultimate goal. If they must be patient while waiting on the court to move or opposing counsel to make their move, they will do so while still working the case from other angles.  You can be patient without being angry or still.

Am I a Great Paralegal?

The Paralegal Job Interview: Top 7 Behavioral Based Interview Questions and  How to Answer Them -

I admit that I saved the personality trait of patience until the end because I lack this personality trait. Even after 26 years of working with attorneys and clients, I still am not a patient person. I’m thankful I don’t use a video phone because the look on my face, the words I’m mouthing, my fingers strumming on my desk, and the stress-relieving ball I am hurling through my office are all strong indicators that I’m losing my patience with the person on the other line.

With that said, I’ve learned to control my reactions to others but I doubt that I’ll ever master being patient. Does that mean I’m not a great paralegal? Absolutely not. In fact, if you don’t have any of the above personality traits, you can still be a great paralegal. The wonderful thing about being human is that we can all learn and grow. It may be more difficult for some of us than others in some areas (I doubt I’ll overcome being impatient) but it can be done.

The other thing I ask you to remember is that the above personality traits aren’t required for every paralegal position. They’re general traits I have noticed as I worked with other paralegals for almost three decades now (oh that makes me sound ancient). The term “great paralegal” can and does apply to paralegals who are committed to their job and who have a love for what they do each day regardless of whether they have any of the above traits (my list or the other list).

However, attorneys will be attorneys and they love paralegals with these traits, skills, and characteristics. They’ll consequently look for paralegals who display these types of skills and personality traits. Learning coping skills to tame my problem with patience improved my efficiency and quality of work, which helped me obtain my position as project manager.

The real trick to becoming a great paralegal is, to be honest enough with yourself to identify the areas where you need to improve. Take those necessary steps – that is a true sign of a great paralegal.