If law and the intricacies of the legal system have always piqued your interest, you may have already asked yourself: Is becoming a paralegal right for me?
Well, let’s start with an even bigger question than that: Is paralegal a good job?
Looking at the paralegal profession from a nuts and bolts perspective, it’s a sure bet for anybody serious about getting a career started in the legal field. Exciting – check. Challenging – check. Financially lucrative – check (learn more about paralegal salaryexpectations!). The fact is, becoming a paralegal checks all the boxes most people are looking for in a career.
Opportunities in the field are abundant, and there’s no shortage of different types of paralegals who specialize in different roles thanks to a growing demand for legal services in emerging areas of law like cybersecurity, energy, IP, cannabis, and more.
Is Being a Paralegal Hard? Of Course It Is, But the Payoff Makes it Worth It!
Sure, you’ll work hard, but the payouts in this profession are pretty impressive.
You’ll get a front row seat to our judicial system in action, you’ll spend your days learning and contributing in dynamic settings, and you’ll have the opportunity to specialize in an area of law that you find rewarding and personally and professional fulfilling (e.g., environmental law, Civil Rights law, immigration law, etc.).
Plus, paralegal careers serve as a practical stepping stone if you’ve got your sights set on earning a JD eventually.
But like any other profession, becoming a paralegal is only a good fit if you have what it takes. It’s definitely not for everyone— it takes more than just memorizing dialogue from your favorite episodes of Law & Order to be a bonafide legal expert
Should I become a paralegal? A career as a paralegal may be right for you…
If Dealing with Mountains of Paperwork Doesn’t Give You Anxiety, Then Becoming a Paralegal Could Be a Good Career
Even as more and more work gets done in the cloud, paperwork remains part and parcel of the legal field. Mounds and mounds of paperwork that must always be organized, signed, filed, sent, and received. There’s a good reason why we started with paperwork – it’s a very big part of the job as a paralegal.
We may be living in the digital age, but don’t let that fool you when it comes to the legal field. Legal documents, correspondence, court filings, memos, and more may be digital, but you can bet you’ll need to handle a paper copy, too. Receiving, sending, and sorting through paperwork is an important part of being a paralegal, but so is keeping everything organized. Your filing skills must be on point because you never know when you’ll need to produce a document for a harried attorney in a moment’s notice.
If you’ve got a penchant for organizing paperwork and ensuring that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed, then a career as a paralegal is probably right for you.
Is Being a Paralegal Right For Me? If You Love Organization and Detail Work, Then the Answer is Yes!
Behind every great lawyer is a paralegal (or two) who keeps things running like a finely tuned machine. Organizational skills aren’t just beneficial in this profession, they’re a necessity. From court filing deadlines to client meetings to personal attorney schedules, you’ll need to keep the plates spinning and make it your mission to never let one hit the ground. Missed meetings or legal deadlines can spell big trouble in the legal field, so keeping your organizational game on point is a big part of being successful in this field.
Good paralegals rely on Google calendar, Excel spreadsheets, Google Workspace and more to keep their calendar and their attorney’s busy schedules organized, coordinated, and planned, often to the minute. In many busy law offices, paralegals must maintain several attorneys’ schedules!
Paralegals also lean heavily on task management software (TickTick and Trello are popular options) to keep them on schedule. Tools like Quip and Process Street are also big for managing checklists, forms, and standard procedures.
If an Excel spreadsheet brings you a certain sense of joy, then a career as a paralegal is probably right for you.
Do I Really Want to Be a Paralegal? If You Can Handle Stress Like a Champ, Then This is the Job For You
A good paralegal not only handles stress well, but actually performs better during stressful times, like when they’re under a time constraint in some frenzied situation where the stakes are high.
The paralegal field is not for the faint of heart, so if you find yourself struggling to adapt to new situations, then this career likely won’t be a good fit.
Outstanding paralegals handle last-minute crises with focus and patience and are ready to drop everything to put out a legal fire or two, even if it’s long past their regular work hours.
If you pride yourself on working well—even thriving—under pressure, then a paralegal career is probably right for you.
Is Paralegal a Good Job? If You’re a Self-Starter, It Could Be the Best Job Ever
Outstanding paralegals take a task and run with it, with little oversight and supervision required. In most legal environments, you’ll need to take care of countless daily tasks without being prompted to do so.
Once you’ve got the lay of the land, you’ll be expected to keep things running smoothly without anyone peering over your shoulder. This, of course, doesn’t mean you won’t need to confer with attorneys or fellow paralegals about projects and other important tasks; it just means you’ll pay close attention and keep your own schedules and checklists to ensure you’re always handling any and all tasks required of you.
If you thrive on working in an environment with little hand-holding, then a paralegal career is probably right for you.
If Persnickety Is Your Middle Name, Then Paralegal is a Good Career Choice for You
Meticulous, fastidious, finnicky…they’re valued traits in the paralegal profession. Here, mistakes can be costly and oversights can have long-lasting repercussions, so checking it once and then checking it again is not just beneficial, it’s essential. A career as a paralegal means never phoning it in, even on the most difficult of days because your work must always maintain the same level of care and attention to detail. Your reputation and success in the profession rely on it.
Successful paralegals never consider a task complete until it is completed with precision and perfection. Their high standards ensure legal filings are complete, schedules are confirmed, and letters are always free of grammatical errors. Those who say I want to be a paralegal must be equal parts thorough and expeditious because success in this profession involves finding a balance between the two.
If perfection is a rule you live by, then a career as a paralegal is probably right for you.
Do I want to be a paralegal? Should I be a paralegal? Learn more about becoming a paralegal for answers to those questions!