Post # 1
- Wedding: June 2015 - Surrey, BC, Canada
Hi all. I have wanted to be a Paralegal since high school but I never did anything about it (cost of school, etc). Well now I have just applied for a program near me, and plan to complete it while working full-time (yikes… lol, I know I can do it, although it will be tough). I know I will need to start out as a Legal Admin and work my way up to a Paralegal status, which is fine with me. I am ready to have an actual career goal to focus on, rather than bouncing from random job to random job as I have the last 10 years.
What I’m wondering is… how do you like being a Paralegal or a Legal Admin? What are your favourite/least favourite aspects of the job? Would you recommend your career to others, and if so why? I am basically looking for a “peek inside the life of a legal admin” for my own curiosity. 🙂
Also I am in Canada, and I know Paralegals are quite different up here than in the US, but I am still interested in opinions of life as a Paralegal from all over. Thank you in advance!
Post # 2
I’m very interested in being a Paralegal one day as well! My favorite part of my law classes in college was all the research, so I think Paralegal is a good career for me 🙂 just have to save up the money for the certification classes! What is the certification process like in Canada? I have to take classes (available online or on campus,” and then sit in a classroom for the test. I’m in the US, but would love the “inside scoop” from any paralegal no matter where they are from!
Post # 3
I work for a law firm in the UK and although I am not a paralegal we have plenty of them in our office. The trouble is that you will be expected to have a lot of legal knowledge, most of ours have law degrees, but the pay isn’t as good as a qualified lawyer wouldgget. The paralegals always seem to be the ones staying late to finish work or be in early. Unless it’s very different in Canada to here I can’t say it’s a career I’d choose unless I had an end goal of getting a trainee lawyer contract.
Post # 4
michy604: I am actually a lawyer, but I had a job as a legal assistant/paralegal while in college and I have a few that have worked for me.
Know that “paralegal” is a title for a very broad array of jobs. For example, I have a paralegal who assists me with document production in litigation, but we have real estate paralegals who draft lease agreements and we have paralegals who manage our company’s liquor licensing. My suggestion is get an idea of what “type” of paralegal you want to be, or go into the certification with a very open mind on what a paralegal can do afterwords. And, to address the PP in the UK, my paralegals work 8-5. They do not stay later than the attorneys and it is an hourly, non-exempt position, so if you do work OT, you get paid for it.
Post # 5
I think the paralegals over here (an not just in our company) are unfortunately seen as people who can do the bulk work for cheaper than a solicitors time so they seem to get a lot of the crap!
Post # 6
michy604: I did it for 3 years. My experience was not the greatest and it’s different for each law firm you work at. The one I worked at undervalued their assistants and overworked them. As well – its different for each law firm you work at. I worked in Securities and Personal Injury. Securities law is very mundane and boring while personal injury is literally different every day and the number of cases that come in were insane. I would suggest to steer clear of securities law as they have lulls and slow seasons (but if it’s something you’d like go for it!)
Post # 7
I am technically a paralegal right now in Australia whilst I complete my last year of my law degree. I love it, but I also know it’s a stepping stone for me to my future career – a fantastic one at that! I am learning all the things required that you don’t learn in law school and meeting my collegues at the same time. I have been a law clerk (intern) too and that was almost the same but a LOT more photocopying! It’s all a part of the job though.
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2015 - Surrey, BC, Canada
Thank you all for your replies!!
CateM10: The process varies depending on which province within Canada you live in, so it can be very different. In Ontario, you have to take courses and write an exam and become licensed (not a law license, but a separate paralegal one). I’m in BC and there is no formal certification here. You pretty much can’t get a Paralegal job without going to school for it though, but in terms of being qualified/experienced, it just comes down to “Can you do the work” and there is no license test to write or anything.
Jen041815: True – thank you for mentioning that too (about the different fields). I have an interest in real estate conveyancing, so I think I would head in that direction. EIther conveyancing for a law firm or for a real estate agency (there aren’t many law firms in my area, but there are lots of real estate agencies so that is part of my thought process too).
I find it really interesting that in other parts of the world a lot of people do Paralegal work before becoming a lawyer. Seems like a good idea. In Canada I think it’s considered very separate – law school and the lawyer track vs. community college and the paralegal track.
misswluu: Sorry to hear it was not a good experience for you! Yikes. Yes I can imagine that for every good firm there is to work for, there’s one that undervalues staff and takes advantage too. Hopefully I will not end up in the latter…
Thanks again for your replies everyone. 🙂