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Paralegal Blog

Endless Opportunities for Paralegal Employment

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Dec 17, 2013 9:03:00 AM

Whether you’re interested in a paralegal education or already a paralegal, you may be wondering what jobs are available for paralegals.  What if you are not interested in working as a traditional paralegal?  Are you looking for something different, but don’t know what else you can do with a paralegal certificate or degree?  Here are just a few related jobs that applicants with paralegal training can branch into:

Contracts Administrator  Paralegal career opportunities

Do you enjoy reviewing contracts?  A contract administrator makes sure the parties involved practice due diligence and comply with the terms, conditions, rights and obligations of a contract. He or she also coordinates any changes to the agreement that might occur over the course of the contract and performs the closeout process when both parties have met their obligations.  If you loved your Corporate and Business Law class, then this may be an area of interest for you!

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Topics: graduates and alumni, career, technology, paralegal skills, education and training

It’s a Wonderful Time to Be a Paralegal!

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Nov 26, 2013 3:01:00 PM

By Thomas B. Swanson, J.D.

Let’s take a look back in time…

During most of the history of the practice of law, legal documents were handwritten by skilled paralegals first known as scribes and later as scriveners.  Legal documents during this period were customized, and the quality of the handwriting, in addition to the content, was important.  In other words, legal documents were distinctive, in part, because the handwriting added an artistic quality.  Beginning in about 1900, this was to change in a major way with the introduction of the typewriter.typewriter for paralegals back in time

The typewriter offered not only much greater efficiency with respect to the preparation of legal documents, it also established a much greater uniformity.  The distinctive handwriting of the scrivener gave way to a new consistency in format and a greater focus on content.  The result was no less than a transformation of the practice of law, as well as the role of the paralegal.  The “Perry Mason/Della Street” era in the history of law practice had begun, and the legal secretary became the primary non-lawyer presence in the law office. 

A change in skill-sets…

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Topics: online classes, career, paralegal skills, education and training

5 Things All Attorneys Expect from Paralegals

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Nov 20, 2013 12:05:00 PM

When I became a paralegal in 1984, it was very common for paralegals to sit at their desks all day with their headphones on and type a variety of documents such as motions, pleadings, and correspondence, dictated by an attorney via the Dictaphone.  The role of the paralegal has since evolved from secretarial typists or transcribers to highly qualified staff members who perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents. 

Since the paralegal profession has evolved to include more substantive legal work, those wishing to become a paralegal usually seek formal training to gain the legal knowledge necessary to work alongside an attorney.  But in order to really excel in the paralegal profession, there are several characteristics and skills that are important to possess and develop in addition to legal knowledge.   After working as a paralegal, I went to law school and became an attorney and employer of paralegals, so I’ve seen first-hand the characteristics and skills that make a paralegal exceptional.  Here are 5 things that every attorney expects from his or her paralegal:

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Topics: career, paralegal skills, education and training

6 Things Every Paralegal Needs to Know about Trial Notebooks

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Nov 13, 2013 11:03:00 AM

By James I. Wiedemer, Attorney at Law and Center for Advanced Legal Studies’ Real Estate Law Professor     

I really don't want to go to trial without a litigation paralegal.  It's just too hard to stay organized and fight hard without one.  One of the key things a litigation paralegal does is "man" the trial notebook.  It's sort of like manning the main gun on a tank.  It's a key weapon at trial.  I’d like to share a couple of thoughts on good trial paralegals and good trial notebooks— the two, in my book, are virtually synonymous.

Winston Churchill once said of one of his key staffers:  "He knew everything.  He could lay his hand on anything.  He said nothing.  He had the confidence of all."  Paralegals need to be a lot like Winston Churchill's staffer.  Although they don't get to testify or present at trial in a verbal sense, nevertheless they are key fighters in the case.  They know everything, and they can lay their hand on any paper.  Here are 6 tips every paralegal needs to know about the trial notebook.

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Topics: career, paralegal skills, education and training

4 Steps to Better Organization for Paralegals

Posted by Elaine Prappas

Oct 2, 2013 9:13:00 AM

As an Admissions Advisor at Center for Advanced Legal Studies and a retired attorney, I always ask prospective students what qualities or attributes they possess that would make them a good paralegal.  Many times I hear:

“I love the law, which I think will make me a good paralegal.”
“I enjoy legal research.”
“I enjoy reading.”

“I am punctual.”

And of course:  “I am fairly organized.”

A love of the law, reading, punctuality, and research skills all contribute to a person’s ability to become a successful paralegal.  Above those, organization is key to excelling both as a paralegal student and as a working paralegal.

Organization skills are vital to be an effective paralegal.  They facilitate a paralegal’s ability to create and manage calendar systems, track court dates, and meet filing deadlines.  Additionally, legal research materials, such as case law, must be organized in a method that they can be easily navigated and retrieved.  Documents in a legal case are useless unless they are properly filed and indexed so that the documents may be pulled quickly and easily. 

But how does one become organized?  Whether you are already a fairly organized person or lacking in that department, organizational skills can always be developed and improved.  Here are 4 simple steps to becoming more organized, and ultimately becoming a more efficient paralegal!

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Topics: career, paralegal skills, education and training

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