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Never Try to Be Someone Different from Who You Are
published February 12, 2013
Your job duties largely depend on the law firm. Some firms spend a significant amount of time preparing for and completing major trials. Other firms may rarely appear in court, choosing instead to settle nearly every case. And while some firms may handle only business or corporate clients, others may serve clients ranging from mega-conglomerates to municipal entities to indigent welfare recipients to undocumented migrant workers.
Some firms hire paralegals strictly to help with legal research. Still others use paralegals mainly in a production role: typing and editing briefs; preparing contracts, wills and trusts; tracking the bill able hours for each case; and managing the filing systems.
In your context, the right mentors can give you careful direction, choice assignments, and even occasional protection during rampages by angry senior partners.
The attorney can help you identify the issues to focus on with a particular case, how to solve a complex problem, and most importantly, what the other attorneys need from you for everyone to work more effectively.
If you work in a large to midsize firm staffed with several paralegals, it helps to choose an appropriate mentor from the group. The best way to begin any mentor relationship is from a position of total honesty. There is nothing wrong or dishonorable about finding an experienced, compatible paralegal colleague and saying, "I like the way you do your work. Can I get some help from you when I have a problem with a case, a client, or someone in the office?"
As with your attorney mentor, your paralegal mentor doesn't have to be your closest friend in the world, your symbolic shoulder to cry on, or the subject of hero worship. You should always maintain a dignified, professional relationship while in the office.
The Job Profile and Responsibilities of Legal Assistants