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Paralegal Work and Growth Prospects in Mid-sized Law Firms

published January 21, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
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( 18 votes, average: 3.9 out of 5)
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Medium-sized law firms of twenty to fifty-nine lawyers are also located in large metropolitan areas of the country. This type of practice will be very much like the larger firm's except that domestic and personal injury cases may be part of the firm's practice.

Fewer paralegals will be employed in mid-sized than in large firms. They will usually have their own offices and may share a secretary with only one other paralegal or an attorney. These paralegals will usually be given more responsible and demanding assignments than in the larger firms. This will allow them to use on the job much of what they were taught in paralegal school.

The paralegals will have more client contact, use more independent judgment, and be given more recognition in their work. The medium-sized firms usually allow their paralegals to perform legal research, write reports, and draft memoranda of law.

Profile—Working in a Medium-sized Law Firm

Margaret T. is a corporate paralegal working in a mid-sized Wall Street law firm. At age 40 she had grown dissatisfied with working as a volunteer in her town. With a bachelor’s degree in education she decided to enroll in an intensive three-month legal assistant training program to become a litigation paralegal.

After successfully completing the program in December 1980 she looked for a job. She interviewed at four different law firms before she decided to accept the job offer at the firm where she is now employed. While seeking employment she worked in various temporary paralegal jobs through an employment agency to gain exposure to a variety of types of law firms. By the time she chose her paralegal position she was familiar with several kinds of paralegal jobs.

She chose her present job because she would receive training in the field of corporate law, which would allow her to eventually work for a corporation if she chose to do so. The law firm’s philosophy was to train everyone, regardless of their previous background. Margaret was fortunate, however, since she had worked with municipal law through her volunteer work, so she started off with some practical legal experience. She was hired at $15,000 per year to replace a corporate paralegal who was leaving the firm to begin work at a brokerage house.

Her writing abilities were used right away. For the month that Margaret T. was being trained she was given very short Blue-Sky research assignments to complete. Her legal research classes were of great assistance to her since she had been given a memorandum of law to complete as part of the course. She was also taught by one of the senior associates how to use the blue sky reporters.

Two weeks after the other corporate paralegals had left, Margaret was working on her own. She began by working with senior associates but now usually works only for the firm's partner's. Eight months after she began working at the firm she was given a raise of $1,250 and she is now negotiating for another salary review. Her benefits include four weeks paid vacation, life insurance, and full Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage.

When she works overtime, which is frequent in this high-pressured firm, she earns $13.25 per hour. Once a month the corporate department has a luncheon for the attorneys and paralegals to discuss current matters the department is working on. Margaret's client contact is restricted to talking to clients on the telephone and meeting with them when they must sign papers.

After working a year in this firm Margaret T. has found that her work as a paralegal has been recognized and appreciated. She now is the head corporate paralegal with two paralegal assistants. Sometimes the lack of clear-cut administrative policies causes her concern since paralegals are sometimes treated differently from the attorneys. However, she has interesting and challenging work as a paralegal. Her position allows her to hire other paralegals and delegate work to them. She has learned a lot from this job and would eventually like to use these skills she has acquired as a law firm administrator or as a paralegal working in a major corporation.

Read More: Paralegal Work Environment and Growth Prospects in Large Law Firms

Read More: Paralegal Work and Growth Prospects with Small Law Firms and Solo Practitioners

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 www.LawCrossing.com.

published January 21, 2013

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 18 votes, average: 3.9 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.