Essential Qualities of Successful Paralegals

Essential Qualities of Successful Paralegals

Perhaps one of the most exciting and ever-changing careers within the legal field is also one of the most misunderstood. Paralegals provide vital assistance to lawyers and other legal entities. While there are many specialties as paralegal may pursue, the most successful of these professionals obtain strikingly similar character traits and skill-sets. Whether you’re an experienced paralegal or just beginning your career, take a moment to fine-tune the following professional and personal qualities.

Research Skills

The experts at Paralegal Certification Scoop claim that one of the most important qualities a paralegal must sharpen is their research capabilities. Regardless of the specialty you work in, the vast majority of paralegals are responsible for undertaking a variety of research skills. These may be to uncover the background of a specific encounter, location or person. You should be well-versed in digital and analogue research skills. For example, you must use the Internet to uncover facts of a case while simultaneously utilizing county records for hardcopy evidence.

Interpersonal Skills

As a paralegal, you’ll spend a good portion of your day dealing with other people. Throughout your day, you must interact with clients and other legal professionals in order to accomplish your tasks. Therefore, one of the most important qualities all successful paralegals share is an ability to effectively communicate with those around them. You must be able to make clients feel comfortable as you’ll likely be charged with collecting sensitive information about their case. You should be able to empathize with clients while maintaining a solid professionalism throughout your vocal and written correspondences.

Professional Communication Skills

While this quality is connected with the interpersonal skills, when you’re dealing with lawyers and other legal professionals, you must communicate in a precise and efficient manner. The most successful paralegals are those who are known to conduct themselves in a professional and time-saving manner. You’ll likely be charged with showcasing evidence and other essential legal documentation to lawyers. Therefore, you should fine-tune your ability to present and discuss your research findings in a succinct and coherent way. Such communication methods are guaranteed to be noticed and appreciated by your employers and clients.

Organizational Skills

Throughout your day as a paralegal, you’ll be responsible for handling a vast array of documentation; both physical and digital. Therefore, it’s imperative you hold exceptional organizational skills. It’s not uncommon for a paralegal to assist on multiple trials, cases and projects. Because each project features a large amount of documentation, those well-versed in organizational methodologies are highly desirable within this career field. Above all else, you must be able to quickly adapt to your work settings and priorities. Time-management is paramount for long-lasting success within this industry.

Extended Paralegal Job Description

Extended Paralegal Job Description

The primary role of a paralegal is to provide general support for a lawyer or a legal team. Although many understand the general role and responsibilities of this profession, the exact job duties of a paralegal are often misunderstood. If you’re interested in embarking on an interesting and dynamic career as a paralegal, take a few minutes to delve into this expanded paralegal job description.

General Paralegal Information

The roles and responsibilities of a paralegal are in directly relation to their specialty and field of employment. For example, the specific job duties of a paralegal employed by a real estate firm can dramatically differ than a paralegal employed within the insurance field. Regardless of the specialty, a paralegal are generally responsible for administrative duties.

The exact work a paralegal performs can vary based upon the size and scope of their employer. Regardless of this, all paralegals are charged with the task of undertaking research. The level of research depends on its purpose. For example, if you’re assisting a trial lawyer for an upcoming case, you’ll likely be responsible for researching specific case laws and delving into evidence.

Along with deep-level research, the primary responsible for all paralegals is detailed note taking and writing skills. Throughout your research, you must understand how to accurately capture essential details. While you may be an expert note taker, if you don’t understand what to specifically capture, then your notes are useless. Therefore, you must obtain a higher-than-normal comprehension of the case and the elements your employer seeks.

When it comes to writing, paralegals are often charged with the task of drafting contracts and client correspondences. Therefore, it’s essential you carry an above-average ability to convey and communicate specific details. There is very little room for error when drafting contracts or compiling statements for clients and/or court systems. This job responsibility is universal regardless of your specialty.

As you progress throughout your paralegal career, you will likely be given supervisory responsibilities. Therefore, if you’re searching for a career where there is substantial upward growth, this profession may be ideal for you. It’s not uncommon for a paralegal to gain promotion to such titles as director of practice support, senior paralegal and legal assistant manager. Once you gain upward mobility within this career, you’ll be charged with more vital responsibilities within your employer. For example, you’d be responsible for recruiting, interviewing and hiring junior paralegals.

If you’re interested in progressing throughout this career, then you’ll likely want to become employed in larger law firms. However, it’s important to note that in order to truly excel within this detailed career move, you must carry an above-average understanding of the United States legal system. It’s recommended to engage in higher learning opportunities, such as earning your Master’s of Paralegal Studies from an accredited university.

Recommended Resources:
www.paralegalcertificationscoop.com
www.americanbar.org
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com

Paralegal Certification: What You Need To Know

Paralegal Certification: What You Need To Know

If you’re considering a career as a paralegal, then you’ve likely come across the topic of certification. Becoming certified is not only a requirement in certain states, but it has the ability to truly transform your career and employment options. According to this source, national paralegal certification are provided by three primary certifying bodies. These include the Association for Legal Professionals, National Association of Legal Assistants and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.

Each of the three certifying bodies offer standardized exams to determine and evaluate the skills and knowledge of paralegals. Because the educational requirements and training programs can vastly vary from state-to-state, these national certification bodies are vital for employers to understand your skills and capabilities.

Once you earn a national paralegal certification, it’s important to keep this certificate current to showcase you’re up-to-date within this ever-changing industry. Although every certification organization features different renewal requirements, each requires completing a certain amount of continuing education credits. This is essential to keep current on industry trends and to fine-tune your paralegal skills.

If you’re interested in obtaining a national certification from one of the above mentioned certifying bodies, then you must be prepared to undergo a relatively intense preparation phase. Although many of the topics covered in the examination are learned throughout your training, it’s essential to obtain study guides for the specific certifying body. Even if a certification is not required, it’s highly recommended. By obtaining a certification, you can be on a fast-track to not only employment, but also promotions, mentoring opportunities and a higher annual salary.

In order to sit for one of these three certifying organizations, you must meet unique requirements. For the majority of paralegals who chose to sit for a national certification, you must be prepared to answer questions that cover a range of legal topics. These generalized tests are often targeted to determine the education of entry-level professionals. Therefore, if you have experience within this profession, you’ll likely do very well.

There are three primary examinations offered by the major certifying organizations. These include: Paralegal Core Competencies offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations; Certified Paralegal/Certified Legal Assistant offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants and the Professional Paralegals Certificate offered by the Association for Legal Professionals.

Each of these examinations feature different eligibility requirements; however, as of 2016, each examination requires some form of education. For example, the Paralegal Core Competencies Examination offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Association requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field as well as a valid certificate in paralegal studies. You may also have an associate degree in paralegal study plus a paralegal studies certificate. However, if you only have a high school diploma or a GED you can take the examination if you have five years of work experience as well as 12 continuing education credit hours.