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What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Paralegal

Hey guys welcome back to another one of my videos today i'm going to be talking about what i wish i knew before becoming a paralegal and jumping right into point number one which is i wish i knew how big of a factor the age of the firm really was so when picking out which firmo is gonna work for i never really considered the fact that if you're working for an older attorney he's probably going to do things in an old school way whereas if you're working for younger attorneys probably going to have newer programs he's still going to be advertising the workload is going to be different the way he approaches thing is going to be different his mentality is going to be very different it's just two worlds from what i've heard and compared to when talking to my friend who's also paralegal. And she works in a firm where her attorney's younger my attorney is definitely on the older end and the way that we go about things in our firm is very old school we just went paperless not even kidding probably two months ago so we just now started doing everything digitally and obviously that's more efficient so we used to actually have cabinets and cabinets full of papers and there were actually like little bugs in them that's how old the files were and another example of how my firm is old school my attorney will arise every document that he makes on paper so he does not use word at all and it's insane to see because as somebody who's younger i've kind of always done everything on word or google docs excel just things on the computer that makes everything more efficient.

Yeah. So i would say that's a huge point is figure out what type of firm you want to work for do you want to work for somebody who does things maybe in a not so efficient way it does give you a little bit more leeway when you're doing tasks i would say that working at an old school firm doesn't mean that you're going to have less of a caseload in fact they could probably mean the opposite and you're going to have more cases because this firm has been up and running for so long that they're going to be very long-term clients they're going to be new clients coming in all the time so just things to keep in mind and i've never worked for a younger attorney. But i do know that they're probably gonna have less experience at the whole law firm thing so it could be cool you could learn with them as they're learning as well. But i can't really speak on that since my boss is older the second thing i wish i knew right off the bat which i guess you won't really know unless you have had previous paralegal experience is that your interactions with the other paralegals is going to be very particular in the way that a lot of these paralegals are very well versed in what they do they probably have decades of experience compared to somebody who's starting out as a paralegal so that means that they're going to be very skilled they're going to try to maneuver their way and make sure that they have a better handle on the case so for example if depositions have to be set because trials coming up and it's there's a lot of pressure because it's a big case the other paralegal is probably going to try to postpone your depositions and make it harder to set some depositions so that's just been my experience at my firm i can't speak for all firms. But i'd say that is one thing i wish i knew the way that i've been able to handle the paralegals that have more experience than me is to try to be more firm and not aggressive but just very firm and assertive and also very nice too because there are a lot of paralegals who are super nice. And they understand you know it's just a job not everything has to be a competition you know it doesn't have to always be a tense environment. So i wouldn't say that you would ever become friends with the other paralegals at all but there have been one or two that i've met who have actually been super kind and said like oh how's your day been you know um. But most of them are very firm and very get to the point we're trying to schedule this on the other end of the stick i have met some paralegals with very bad attitudes they just really hate their life they don't want to talk to you they don't want to help you i mean they don't have to help you but they don't want to give you what you want on the phone it's just it's interesting.

So i wish i knew that i wish i knew that most paralegals have a lot of experience. So that's kind of who you're going to be talking to and who you're going to be dealing with. So. Yeah. It's just good to catch on quick to that and figure out how to maneuver other paralegals who have been at this for years the third thing i wish i knew is that you're very capable to do the job i remember when i walked in i was super star struck at everything i was just in shock because i was like i've never stepped foot in a firm before i how am i supposed to do this job like i was just so scared and everything was super intimidating my boss was super old the paralegal for me was older than me the firm was very fast paced. But i just wish i could go back in time and tell myself everything's gonna be okay. Just do your best you know calm down. And that's kind of what i also wanted to let you guys know because i've seen a lot of comments on my videos where a lot of you don't think that you're capable or you're scared that you're not going to be able to do the work when in reality everything is so incredibly learnable and there's nothing that you should be scared of i'd say that if you want to become a paralegal go for it don't let fear of not being enough be the reason that you don't do it in general never count yourself out of opportunities whether it be being a paralegal a paramedic attorney etc there have been millions of people before you who have done it something i like to keep in mind is that there's always going to be somebody better than you there's always going to be someone worse than you there's nothing you can do about it all you can do is your best but definitely never count yourself out of anything. And it's not going to be easy you know especially if you have no experience the first paralegal job that you get is going to be a little bit rough because it's a lot of information to take in. And i can't emphasize that enough i'm not saying that this is an easy job by any means. But i do think that it is learnable and if you want it bad enough you can definitely become a master in it.

So. Yeah so moving on to number four i'd say that i wish i knew that presence means everything you're going to have a lot of clients that are coming in and out of your office to talk to you to talk to the attorney to talk to somebody in the office and you need to know how to handle yourself in front of them because ultimately you want the respect you want them to feel like you're doing the most that you can to help their case you want them to feel like you genuinely care. And you just want to feel like family i'd say obviously you aren't family and you're never going to be a friend. But you should also come off you know like in an endearing way you are quite literally a walking talking billboard advertisement of the firm and of your attorney so be careful of what you say be careful of how you present yourself always be genuine and if you truly think highly of your attorney and the firm then i would say never hurts to say that and speak good about them another huge thing is don't be too in your head when you're talking to these clients at first it can be a little bit intimidating but it's always important to be very attentive try not to babble or say more than you have to especially when it comes to the firm's progress on the specific client's case so what i mean by that is if you know that the firm is kind of in an unfavorable situation about the case don't offer up that information if the client asks you be truthful and you be honest and you let them know. Or you say that's something that you have to speak about with your attorney but try to just be selective with what you say is what i'm trying to say because i'm speaking from experience there have been times where i say a little bit too much. And i think back. And i think i wish i wouldn't have said too much so that was just a learning experience for me obviously i'm very honest and very respectful.

And i let them know that we're doing our best a huge way to gain your clients respect is to do what you say you're gonna do so if you say that you're gonna send them some papers by the end of the day make sure you send them those papers by the end of the day because people notice that people are going to remember even if they don't bring it up to you it's gonna be on their head. Wow they didn't remember to send me my papers how does that make you look how does that make the firm look how does it make the attorney look it can be something so simple as sending an email. But if you say that you're gonna do it do it you want to make sure that you have a clean look. But i think that goes for any job it's just particularly important for a law firm. But i'm sure that your attorney will probably mention something if you're not dressed well on the same token i wish i knew how important people's skills really were not gonna lie going into the job i thought that it was all going to be primarily computer work just helping out the attorney but it was very much talking to clients all day seeing them in person making sure that they know that i care being genuine treating them like family so if you feel like you don't really want to have a lot of interactions with clients i would say really think about whether you want to become a paralegal because it's a huge part of your job this is also on the same point. But i wish i knew however you treat these clients is going to get back to your boss in one way or another so whether that be you giving them a super pleasant experience or you giving them a super hard time your boss is kind of gonna find out because the clients have meetings with attorneys and they're gonna chat. And they're gonna say i spoke with x y and z she was so helpful just wanted to let you know you have a great team. Or i spoke with x y and z and she never sent me these papers she never let me know that we have a meeting she never let me know what the zoom link was so it's things that you don't realize until you hear clients talking about you and you're like. Oh my gosh what i say and do actually matters and that's another thing that i realized as i was on the job is that clients are going to talk about you to your boss but the last thing i wish i knew which was kind of obvious but at the same time i don't think that you feel the weight until you're actually under pressure is that the responsibility you have is huge your attorney counts on you to know these cases like the back of your hand he counts on you to be putting things on your calendar he counts on you to remind him of things he counts on you to not make mistakes he counts on you sometimes to stay after work when you shouldn't be staying after work he counts on you to make sure to let him know when something goes wrong there are so many things that the attorney is going to count on you for that is a little bit stressful if you get in your head about it but if you just make sure that you're doing everything the right way and you're organized you're on top of your things then it really shouldn't be anything to worry about and if you're at the point where you haven't even started your paralegal job. Yet i'd say the biggest tip that i have is to be organized in the way that you put everything on your calendar you keep a running list of to-do's because when you let one thing slip or you have one bad day or one bad week the consequences of that are just going to multiply and it's going to come at you like this big wave just hit you and you're just gonna be caught off guard. You're gonna have to catch up there's more work coming in at the same time so it's happened to me already. And i learned from it i didn't let it happen again but even if you're having a bad day try to get your work done and make sure that you write things down it can be tedious to put things on your calendar it's takes 10 seconds just do it. I have some other points but i'm going to cut the video right there actually filming this before work so i have to go in now. And yeah. I hope you guys enjoyed the video if you have any questions or suggestions or anything please feel free to let me know. And i hope you guys have a really good tuesday and remember that life is short you only live once so make sure that what you choose to do is what you truly want to do and that it's going to make you happy and it's going to put you in a better mood and you're going to look forward to every day.

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