Paralegals - Creative Thinking

Paralegal work can be challenging and rewarding. And as with many other jobs, you can play a big role in just how rewarding and challenging it is, financially and emotionally. By following a few easy tips, you can maximize your paralegal opportunities and get what you want out of your job as a paralegal. 

1. Maintain Work Location Flexibility

Today, paralegals can be more attractive to certain employers because of workplace flexibility. For example, a paralegal who is flexible enough to work at home some of the time can save an employer money usually spent on a workspace and utilities. 

On the other hand, even if you become accustomed to doing paralegal jobs remotely and prefer them over working in an office, stay open for office work to keep fresh opportunities coming in. In some cases, paralegals who start out in an office can eventually transition to a hybrid or fully remote situation after some time in the office.  

2. Create Travel Opportunities

Travel is a good way to add a little flair to your life. Fortunately, the paralegal industry is an exciting field of continual learning through conferences and seminars. For paralegals who must meet continuing legal education (CLE) requirements, these conferences and seminars are a perfect opportunity to travel and learn at the same time. 

In addition to keeping you up on your CLE requirements and adding a little excitement to your life, traveling to seminars and conferences is a great way to network and explore future opportunities. 

Remember, events such as these in your industry are attended by professionals with many of the same interests and goals as you, which makes for productive networking and connections.  

3. Be Creative and Flexible with Perks

Raises are great paralegal benefits, but not all firms give them out. However, they aren’t the only benefit available to paralegals. If you are at a firm that is currently on a no-raise status, ask for other perks. For instance, you could request a gym membership from the firm or payment of membership dues in professional organizations and associations.

You can also ask for commuter expense assistance, which can open up employment opportunities located outside of your normal employment radius. 

Tuition assistance and help with school expenses (such as books) is another valuable, non-raise benefit you can seek. And some employers might help with student loan payments. 

If your employer refuses to give you a raise, you might also request additional paid time off in place of a pay increase. 

In other words, getting creative with perks can open up a host of benefits that your employer may be willing to grant you over a raise. 

4. Follow the Industry

An informed paralegal is one who works smarter. In other words, the more you know about the industry in which you work, the easier it will be for you to do your job. Confusion eats up time. But if you stay abreast of important matters that affect your area of employment, you will be a more valuable asset to your employers. 

You can keep up with the industry by reading publications specific to paralegals, but don’t shy away from publications targeting lawyers. Within their pages, you will find valuable information for your work. 

5. Get Certified

More firms today are choosing certified paralegals over those without certification. Although it is required in only one state, paralegal certification is now seen as a stamp of competency. If you currently do not have paralegal certification, obtaining it will open up your job prospects for the future. 

Paralegal training is available through American Bar Association (ABA) approved programs that can take up to two years to complete. With that being said, there are programs that take much less time. 

When it comes to certification, it is important to remember that while many schools offer a paralegal certificate, graduating from these schools does not mean you are certified as a paralegal (although you may still work as one). 

Various national bodies grant various forms of certification:

  • National Federation of Paralegal Associations 
  • American Alliance of Paralegals
  • National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • National Association of Legal Support Professionals

Some of these organizations offer certifications for experienced paralegals only. In other words, some of their courses have prerequisites of five or seven years of work experience as a paralegal. For paralegals desiring growth in the field, obtaining these certifications makes perfect sense.

6. Join Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are filled with people who know what it is you go through on a day-to-day basis. Membership in these organizations is a great way for paralegals to find professional companionship and foster industry and employment connections for the future. 

Most importantly, these organizations exist to advance the interests of paralegals and offer members perks, such as discounted access to valuable training materials and information.

7. Refine Your Work Performance

Perhaps the greatest thing you can do to get what you want from your job is to strive to be a high-level paralegal who always produces quality work. Achieving this goal requires you to regularly engage in self-analysis and criticism (constructive). 

You should constantly review your work performance and evaluate how you execute tasks. Note what is lacking and focus on improving areas of weakness.

Refining your work performance also requires you to take and heed valuable critiques of your work in a professional manner. There’s always room for improvement, and often, others can offer the most valuable recommendations. 

As you become known as a consummate professional, your work opportunities and connections will blossom, and you will have options available to you because of your high-performance standards. 

The sky is the limit, and the world of paralegal work is yours. If you are looking to make the most out of your career as a paralegal, imagine how you want your life as a paralegal to look and follow the steps above to start on your path. Woven Legal is a staffing company that matches standout paralegals with our attorney clients in remote roles. You read that right. We ONLY have remote opportunities. Click here to find our application.


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