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Paralegal Blog

3 Simple Steps to Build Your Paralegal Network

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Oct 23, 2013 12:21:00 PM

Having a network of professional contacts and colleagues is a huge advantage in today’s working world.  It gives you a support system full of people who do the same type of work you do.  It provides a group of knowledgeable people to contact if you have any questions, concerns, or need to refer someone or obtain a reference.   And we all know it’s easier to find employment or grow in the position you have when you “know people.”how to build your professional network for paralegals

But how does one build their professional network?  At Center for Advanced Legal Studies, we want our students and graduates to thrive in their paralegal careers, and that includes growing their professional network and always sharpening their knowledge and skill-set.  But that’s not always easy.  Maybe you’re like me, and networking doesn’t come quite as easily to you as it does to some of our more extroverted colleagues.  But everyone can make the conscious decision to pursue building his or her network.  Here are 3 simple steps to help augment your career with a strong network of legal professionals.

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Topics: career, seminars and CLE, education and training

Paralegals: Find Your Voice! 4 Vocal Viruses that Could Stifle Your Career

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Oct 16, 2013 9:07:00 AM

As a speech professor at Center for Advanced Legal Studies, at the beginning of each semester, I tell my students in the AAS Degree paralegal program that one of the goals of the speech class is for them to find their voices.  By that, I mean that I want them to discover their true way of expressing themselves, whether it is humorously, poetically, or perhaps with an authoritative tone they didn’t know they possessed.

I also point out to them that they are each born with certain qualities to their physical voices that they may or may not like.  Of course, it is possible to change the physical voice.  Actors, for example, besides ridding themselves of accents, often work with a coach to lower their voice or make it more resonant or vibrant, and they learn breathing techniques that help with vocal projection.

Vocal Viruses are Infectious Habits

Why, then, when we put so much focus on sounding good, would people deliberately adopt paralegal giving speechweird vocal habits that are unsettling to the listener?  Currently, for example, vocal “fads” exist that make the voice sound gravelly, childish, and whiny.  There is even a grating vocal style known as “tattered voice,” heard in both male and female actors and voiceover artists.  These people sound as if they have been up for three days straight, chain smoking and drinking Everclear.

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Topics: career, education and training

Five Ways One Paralegal Student Made Connections

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Oct 9, 2013 10:01:00 AM

1.  Connecting to the Law

Her parents might say that she likes to argue, but Gretchen Trower enjoys questioning, researching, and building her case, which makes her well-suited to a paralegal career.  And she just graduated from Center for Advanced Legal Studies and is in her second month as a paralegal, the profession that she has dreamed about for almost 20 years.A paralegal student making connections to a legal career

It was in an undergraduate political science class at the University of Missouri where Gretchen's passion for the law was sparked.  She became very interested in how the law affects government policy and society.  The connection between courtroom decisions, policy, and people’s everyday lives made her want to become a lawyer.  She began to study for the LSAT, the entrance exam for most law schools.  But her plans changed after marrying a soldier she met while serving in the military.

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Topics: online classes, paralegal degree, graduates and alumni, career, veterans and military, 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, education and training, paralegal skills

5 Ways Graduates Can Gain Employment Before They Have Experience

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Sep 25, 2013 10:11:00 AM

As someone who helps graduates find employment, the one question I get asked the most by students is “How am I supposed to gain experience when most employers won’t hire without it?”  Students in all schools face this dilemma when they near completion of their education.  Even students in paralegal programs.  So, how can you gain work experience when no one will give you a chance?

At Center for Advanced Legal Studies (CALS), students have the opportunity to complete an externship at a law firm or legal department in order to gain experience they can include on their resumes.  But not all schools provide this experience.  If not, don’t get discouraged.  Stay positive and pro-active.  Here are 5 ways you can escape the proverbial Catch-22 between experience and employment.  (Note: this blog post is aimed specifically toward paralegal students/graduates, but can apply to all college graduates!)

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Topics: paralegal degree, technology, graduates and alumni, career, paralegal externship, seminars and CLE, education and training

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