Are you interested in a career as a paralegal? While you decide if this is an area of expertise that you are interested in pursuing, it is important to understand what makes a paralegal successful in the industry. For some, this position is a stepping stone and for others it is a calling. The investment into your career can have many years of returns, so before you dive in head-first, consider these five ways you can succeed as a paralegal.
A primary aspect of a paralegal’s job is to conduct the research on the behalf of the firm or attorney. To truly prosper in the field you need to cultivate excellent research skills. This needs to be not only with documents but also with online discovery. Brush up on your research skills by practicing.
Comfort with Technology
A good paralegal, especially to be competitive in today’s market, needs to be comfortable with a wide variety of technology. We mentioned discovery, which is a big part of the legal profession and now it extends to email and digital files. It’s best to be versatile in technology and now multiple ways to accomplish the same tasks, rather than expect it to work properly.
Writing and Verbal Communications
A paralegal is also often responsible for much of the communication for the lawyers they work for. You’ll want to make sure that both your verbal communications skills and written communications skills are impeccable. Focus on grammar and spelling. Know how to proofread and edit large documents. Be sure this translates to all aspects of your life as well, including social media.
Flexibility and Time Management
A law office is an unpredictable place. Things change, deadlines are moved, and people are demanding – both lawyers and clients. A paralegal can’t get overly frustrated by this kind of environment because it will be that way every day. Instead focus on time management and prioritization. Knowing which tasks need to get done today and which ones can wait until tomorrow is a skill that will be appreciated.
Confidential Mind Set
It is also critical that you are able to keep important information extremely confidential. Both the lawyers and the clients you talk to rely on the protection of the information they share, so you need to ensure that you’re maintaining confidentiality at all times. Information about legal cases might sound like it would make a great story at a family gathering or over drinks with friends, but people are connected everywhere. One slip of the tongue could hinder your career.
Law firms and corporate legal departments have their own challenges, specialties and required skills. NRI can source everyone you might need for your firm, from attorneys and paralegals to administrative and support staff. Contact NRI Staffing today learn about legal jobs in Washington D.C.