Many recently graduated paralegals start their first day on the job
uncertain of what to expect. These uncertainties concern how they will be viewed by the other staff and/or utilized as a member of the legal team. It is important to remember that starting a paralegal job
is like starting any other new job for which you received educational training; your first several weeks are a "getting acquainted" period with the staff. Paralegal training does differ from program to program and many lawyers are still experimenting with how to use paralegals most effectively.
Prepare in Advance Before your first day of work, review your notes and textbook readings from your paralegal training program to familiarize yourself with the legal terminology and procedures that you were taught, since there may have been sometime between your graduation and your first day on the job. It is best to refresh your memory by reading over these course materials.
You may find that your first position involves work in an area of law with which you are not familiar. If so, ask one of your former instructors to recommend a book or two in that area of law so that you can do some homework, which will make you feel more confident on your first day. In addition to preparing for the type of law which is practiced by your new employer.
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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom
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You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays
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Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
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