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Legal Staffing Advice: What Professional Staffers Say About Working in the Legal Industry

published March 09, 2023

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( 21 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)
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The legal industry is highly competitive and it is important for those employed within it to stay on top of their game. This article highlights the experiences of legal staffers in various areas of the legal field, from law firm paralegals to corporate legal departments, to offer insight into the profession.

Law firm paralegals generally find their jobs to be both challenging and rewarding - with demanding workloads, long hours, and complex cases. Many report enjoying the fast-paced and second-guessing nature of the job that keeps them on their toes. However, many deal with burnout due to the intensity.

Corporate legal departments offer a different type of environment. These staffers often enjoy the fact that they get to work closely with the company they're serving and feel that there is more stability within the organization. While the corporate workload might not be as intense as that of a law firm paralegal, many corporate legal departments require their staffers to take on roles outside their job description.

The corporate legal departments that focus on one type of industry, such as healthcare, can offer more personalized and targeted work opportunities to staffers. This can allow them to hone their skills and develop their professional skills to a greater degree.

The legal staffing industry is also a viable option for legal professionals as it offers flexibility and freedom. It allows them to take on multiple roles and switch employers throughout their career. It is also a great way to gain experience in different areas of the legal field without having to commit to a full-time job.

The legal staffing industry is often seen as a highly competitive field, and legal staffers need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses in order to stay ahead of the game. Being confident, diligent, and able to adapt quickly to new roles and tasks can help legal professionals find success in their job search.

This article offers insight into the experiences of legal staffers across different areas of the legal field. From law firm paralegals to corporate legal departments, the article delves into the demands and rewards of working in the industry. It also provides information on the legal staffing industry, which provides flexibility and freedom to those looking to gain experience in different areas of the law. By staying aware of their skills, legal professionals can maximize their potential in the highly competitive legal industry.

Hiring the Right Legal Staff

In this ever-changing business climate, hiring the right legal staff can make or break a law firm. Whether you are starting a new firm or expanding an existing one, it is important to find qualified legal staff members who understand the complexities of the legal system and possess the skills to help your firm succeed. With the increasing number of job applicants vying for legal positions, it's important to be able to sift through a wide variety of candidates in order to find the ideal individual who can add value to your firm. Here, legal staffers discuss the strategies they use to ensure that their firm recruits the most qualified staff members.

Knowing What You Need

In the hiring process, it is important for employers to have a clear understanding of the roles and characteristics that the position requires. “Knowing what you need for a position is critical,” says attorney Peter Johnson. “When starting a search for legal staff, it is essential to have good job descriptions that clearly include the experience, education, and skills that are required for the job. This information provides the foundation for a successful search.”

Conducting Extensive Interviews

Recruiting legal staff requires time and patience. Employers should take their time to thoroughly evaluate job applicants in order to make sure they are the right fit for the job. “I always recommend conducting several rounds of interviews in order to get to know an applicant's work style,” says legal assistant Mary Andrews. “This step is key in making sure you are hiring someone who will be a long-term addition to your firm.

Considering Soft Skills

Legal staff need to be able to not only work hard, but work smart. Employers should look for individuals who possess the ability to think critically and be resourceful. “Attorneys and legal staff need to be able to manage their time and work independently,” says paralegal Tanya Johnson. “Soft skills such as communication, organization, and problem-solving skills are essential for any person in the legal profession.”

Verifying References and Backgrounds

With so many applicants vying for positions in the legal realm, employers must take the necessary steps to ensure that they are hiring qualified individuals who are trustworthy and demonstrate appropriate professional behavior. Paralegal Nancy Smith explains: “Background checks and in-depth reference checks are essential in order to ensure that the people we are hiring are qualified and suitable for the positions.

I am in great need of help as far as how to go about landing a job. I have a J.D./M.BA., but I have not taken the bar and do not have much job experience. I have decided that I am going to put all of my effort into landing a position as a police officer. I don't really care where I end up. However, I need to make at least $45-50K. Do you have any suggestions?
Joe C.

Being a police officer can be a very rewarding career, albeit not one you may have expected to seek after your J.D./M.B.A. If you'd like to pursue employment that is more traditionally associated with your education but do not want to take the bar, I'd suggest you highlight your M.B.A. degree and offer your J.D. as a bonus to employers. Every business needs someone who can understand the law. Good positions for you would be in law firm administration, risk management, contract administration and human resources. Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes!
Get advice from law students, prelaw students and others at: Top Law Schools

I have a law degree and lots of experience. However, I just found out that I did not pass the February bar exam. I am frustrated, and I do not want to practice law anymore. My current job was contingent on my passing the bar exam. Since I have not passed the exam, my job is terminated. I have worked in all sectors of the law - government, firms, courts, legislature, etc. What options do I have in the legal staff field?
Karen L., Disappointed J.D.

I'll be honest with you: Law firms tend to shy away from hiring lawyers as legal staff. The bar exam puts a stamp of approval on your J.D. but essentially by education you are already an attorney, and you'll have some trouble convincing legal employers that you want to work as legal staff and will not abandon them after a subsequent, successful experience with the bar exam. I would suggest this, try legal staff placement agencies. They will work with you, and you may well be able to get your foot in the door. Eventually your employers will be able to see that you are serious about a career in the legal staff field.

I am a paralegal. I just want some clarification as to the terms paralegal and legal assistant. Legal secretaries are sometime called legal assistants. Thanks in advance for clearing this up.
Carina Z.

A paralegal is more of a professional designation; it is defined by the ABA as a person who can assist an attorney in all aspects of the law, provided he or she works under an attorney. However there are two kinds of paralegals, certified and non-certified. The net tends to be cast wide in terms of what paralegals actually end up doing at specific firms. A legal secretary can also be certified but would more likely do things like managing files or correspondence rather than substantive legal work. Legal assistant is a rather vague term; it can refer to an office assistant, a case assistant, or junior J.D.

I double majored in political science and accounting. I know accounting definitely has a legal side to it with tax and business law. But I need some concrete ideas how to apply what I learned and package myself appropriately for a career in law-related accounting.
Joan C.

Law firms certainly use accountants for various jobs, including general office accounts, managing client accounts, paying their employees, etc., so there is certainly a market here that you can work with. I would suggest a skills-based resume highlighting what you can do in terms of what processes and software you are familiar with. If you know any accounting programs used by law firms, make sure you highlight those on your resume.

published March 09, 2023

( 21 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.