Post # 1
I’m a student trying to get my associates as a paralegal, I’ve really been having a hard few weeks and have not enjoyed doing the work at all. I’m really worried that I won’t enjoy a career as a paralegal since i’m not enjoying the homework and am overwhelmed.I am so stressed out right now
Is anyone on the site a paralegal? or Have any of you worked as one in the past? What is it like? Do you have any tips? Does it get better?
Post # 3
If you are doubting yourself now, I would think long and hard before continuing and pursuing this as a career. I’m a legal assistant (which the ABA uses interchangably with paralegal) and can tell you that this job is uber stressful. I work for an average size firm (24 attorneys) and I do various types of work for 6 of them. This is also the first firm I have ever worked for since I got hired right after I got done with my schooling. No offense to any lawyer bees out there, but attorneys are some of the hardest people in the world to work for. If you are working for more than one person, they all tend to want everything done at the same time and usually start being extremely demanding at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
I would advise you to really think about whether or not this is what you want to do.
Post # 4
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Paralegals are responsible for many different types of law office support. It depends on which office you work at but you would be responsible for drafting petitions, letters, and motions, as well as managing files and preparing trial notebooks and evidence for hearings.
If that doesn’t sound interesting, don’t waste your time getting an education to do it. Are there any elective classes that sounds interesting or you really enjoyed? Have you taken a Myers-Briggs test to see what kinds of jobs you would be good at? College is a time for exploration and to finda job that plays to your strengths and interests. The more interested in a subject you are the more likely you are to spend the time studying and learning the subject therefore causing you to get better grades in those classes. Better grades equal more opportunities for internships and study abroad programs.
Other than that my advice would be to make sure you are getting a degree that will equip you to qualify for a job as soon as you graduate. I majored in Psychology because although there are few job prospects for a B.A. in Psych, I knew that I was going to continue on to grad school and I needed a major where I could boost my GPA as high as possible to increase my chances of being accepted to grad school.
Post # 5
I never went to school for it, sort of fell into a job working at a small firm, but I love it! I work for about 5 attorneys every day and some days are CRAZY busy and some days are a little repetitive and dull…… So I never went through the schooling (do plan to start soon) but I would say that if you can’t stand the subjects, you probably won’t be too thrilled with the job =/ but at the same time, how many people out there truly love their job every single day? I work so I can enjoy my personal life, and as long as my job doesn’t affect my attitude or happiness in my personal time I consider myself luckier than most. But also consider (depending on the firm) you won’t be loaded with homework every single night like you probably are in school, you’ll probably have a little more time to breathe!
Post # 6
@arsing89: but attorneys are some of the hardest people in the world to work for…
Haha too true!! I’m a lawyer and would not want to be my paralegal 😉
I’m only joking, we’re really nice to our support staff. I practically worship them since I’d never be able to do my job without them. I have worked at very small firms with no paralegals and it sucks!
Post # 7
@ChloeTM2707: Then you are one of the few! Just kidding.
The first attorney I started working for in this firm was a jerk and had me reduced to tears many days. He thinks the whole world, and the whole firm, should revolve around him. I’m currently running one of our branch locations and am constantly having to change my work day around to accomdate his schedule BUT he has his own secretary in our main office. Most of the other attorneys are nice and treat us well, but they are extremely demanding.
Post # 8
I’ve been a paralegal for 4.5 years now, at the same two man firm. I, like you HATED the homework! But i will tell you class is nothing like the real deal. I also will agree with PP lawyers are sometimes the most difficult people to deal with and a lot of times they are too smart for their own good. There are stressful days, there are days where i’ve had clients threatening to take my head off because their exhusband is an asshole, i’ve been all but blamed for the plague. Remeber, people are generally not happy to be seeing a lawyer and you will be a target for a range of emotions. If you don’t have passion for learning the law or the justic system this may not be a good career for you. When you become a paralegal you become an attorney’s gopher and a client’s punchingbag/counselor. Also, a lot of times if my boss has me in tears, he doesn’t realize that he is being an ass and that i’m not the opposing counsel. You have to be thick skinned. BUT then there are days that i do adoptions…..and an orphan is given a home and loving parents and we are a big part of the process, those days are rewarding, those days make it worth it. I would suggest maybe finding someone to shadow for a while, i’ve had girls shadow me to really see the innerworkings, i had one change her mind and later i had one as my assistant/intern. All in all, i love my job, take the good with the bad and good luck!!
Post # 9
Thank you to all who replied, I’m sorry it took so long for me to reply. I just got through three midterms and have 4 projects that I’m having/had to work on simultaniously this whole week. I still feel overwhelmed and hate the job. However, I’m almost done with my classes and was reassured by a fellow classmate that I could possibly work in another area of criminal justice with this degree.
I’m just still conflicted over what I should do with my life other then the literal job description of paralegal. Its not my cup of tea and I’m trying to muster any enthusiasm or motivation to get through the homework and tests 🙁
Post # 10
I’m almost near my first yer anniversary as a paralega. I agree with arsing89. Attorneys CAN be the hardest folks to work for. As other PPs have said. Some days are good, some days aren’t so good. I also agree that you have to be thick-skinned. If you would have asked me 10 months ago if this was the career for me, I would have said no. I didn’t feel like I was cut out for it. I’ve learned/grown so much since I’ve been there, and I’m thankful I stuck with it. Most of the time, I find that the stressful atmostphere comes from lack of organization. If the attorneys I work for want to prep for court, and we start a discussion, and realize we don’t have a supporting document that we need for the hearing that day or the next day, then it is our job as paralegals to obtain those documents before the attorney goes to court. Organization is key for a successful attorney/law firm. ChloeTM2707 could probably provide more insight on that.
And another stressor can be when you prep for the hearings with the attorneys, and then it sucks up half your day. Then you’re behind on all the paperwork you need to do. I probably have 60 hours of work to do in a 40 hour week. One thing I had to let go of (and I still struggle to this day) is you won’t go home with a clean desk & nothing to do. The legal world is ALWAYS moving and there will always be work to do. I was trying to get everything done on a day to day basis, and I felt like I was never making it to the top of the mountain. But when I realized, not a whole lot was going to change from the time i left work, until the time I came in the next morning, it sort of eased my way of thinking on this.
Why did you choose the legal field in the first place? Was it to help others? Were you interested in the law? Was it money-basd? Do you have folks you know who work in different legal fields that may be able to provide insight on how their office operates? I am sure each field of law operates VERY differently.
And just because you are going to school for this, doesn’t mean you have to do this for the rest of your life. You can try it out for a year (or however long you decide), and if you still hate it…move on to your next desire/interest.
Post # 11
I am an attorney and agree, attorneys are the hardest people to work with. I admire the support staff!
I spent uni holidays working as a legal assistant and I learnt a lot from that.. I worked for four attorneys at the same time and I can’t say it was great. All attorneys always seem to think that they’re task is the most important thing and they won’t wait for you to finish doing something else first. And they always want you to do things ASAP and what irritated me the most; they NEVER tell their plans to the support staff. They might come up with a massive pile of paper to go through without giving any warning even when they’ve known it for days. They just won’t understand that you work for other people too.
Another thing I experienced is that I think attorneys always have an attitude towards paralegals/legal assistants. As en example, in every law firm I’ve worked at all attorneys only go out for lunch etc with each other. They never become friends with support staff. It’s like two completely different classes.
I have always found it strange and therefore try to be different towards my assistant. 🙂