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Volunteer Work as a Paralegal Can Increase Your Chances of Getting a Job

published July 13, 2012

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
Published By
( 232 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
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“If you are willing to do good work for free, can you imagine what your prospective employer will think you might be willing to do if you were paid?” I chanced upon this comment one day while browsing through LinkedIn profiles, and it opened my eyes.
Volunteer work can increase your chances of getting a job

Only a few people understand the perspective of an intelligent employer who goes through your resume, and most newcomers to the profession think that doing voluntary work is a last resort of claiming work-experience, if there is none to be had for pay. People do not even realize that for many employers, a history of volunteer paralegal work may actually carry greater weight than paid work because it improves the desirability of a candidate.

Why voluntary work on a paralegal's resume is important to a recruiter

Recruiters need to make logical business decisions that are cost efficient and favorable for their companies. A lot of volunteer work on a resume displays to the recruiter that the candidate might be an easy target to bargain for working for the company. Voluntary work experience on a resume is not just simple work experience, but demonstrates to the recruiter that he/she may get away by paying a lower fee. The recruiter might be tempted to do this with the current state of the economy.

A recruiter will bargain for a salary contract, and too much experience on a resume will deter the recruiter from hiring the employee for a higher wage. Believe it or not, more resumes are regularly rejected because of the amount of experience rather than the lack of experience because recruiters view experienced workers as someone they have to pay more money. On the other hand, somebody who has been working for free is the ideal employee because the recruiter is not obligated to reward the employee with a decent amount of money.

See 6 Things Attorneys and Law Students Need to Remove from Their Resumes ASAP If They Want to Get Jobs with the Most Prestigious Law Firms for more information.

A paralegal who may be ready to work for free or for lower pay is the best option for the recruiter, so they may negotiate a lower salary. Thus voluntary work experience on the paralegal's resume may attract a recruiter to hire the paralegal. It increases your chances of getting hired.

What kind of voluntary work experience looks good on a paralegal's resume?

Voluntary work experience on a paralegal's resume will attract many recruiters, but it needs to be credible. Any kind of voluntary work won't do.

Credibility can be attributed to your voluntary work experience, but you need to seek out organizations which are recognized for legal voluntary work. Typically, these would be state organizations or non-profit organizations which do regular legal work. Institutions that conduct paralegal education courses also offer chances to do such clinic work, though not all students sign up for pro bono opportunities. The best places to gather great voluntary work experiences that count, are nonprofit legal services where voluntary paralegal is an integral part of everyday institutional functions.

Things to make sure before joining an organization as a volunteer paralegal

There are certain things to make sure before you sign up with an organization to do volunteer work as a paralegal. The most important questions should obviously be about:
  1. Is the work offered in line with your career objectives and would increase your employability?
  2. Would the organization provide you with letters of recommendation or experience that would help you in your future?
  3. Is the organization/department clearly into providing legal advice and services?

The answers to the above questions would determine your selection of the organization where to volunteer.

Some other things to be aware of while doing volunteer paralegal work

Pro bono paralegal work offers great chances of networking, of brushing up your skills, and chances to demonstrate your skills before a broader audience. The exposure you receive is the key to marketing yourself and important for your career.

Even though this article is about the benefits of voluntary paralegal work towards increasing employability, these benefits are not limited to the actual work experience.. It's not all about serving self-interests. In addition to being recognized, voluntary paralegal work also provides you with chances to give back something to the community.

Keep in mind, voluntary paralegal work provides an abundance of blessings and benefits to you only when you get in tune with the true nature of the work and your role in it. If you are doing voluntary paralegal work, then do it for offering the help expected of you from your heart, and everything else would fall into place automatically.

Alternative Summary

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

More about Harrison

About LawCrossing

LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

published July 13, 2012

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 232 votes, average: 4.5 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.