While the comic above is humorous, it is also extremely true! Paralegals are an indispensable part of any good law practice. From assisting in research to preparing affidavits, good paralegals can turn a mediocre practice into an efficient, smooth-running office, helping clients feel more secure in working with the practice’s lawyers.
How do you become the type of paralegal a law practice cannot live without? If you are a lawyer, what qualities should you seek in those you hire? Throughout the many years Select Court Reporters has been in business, we’ve discovered certain characteristics and talents common among the best paralegals. Here is what we have come to find:
First, any efficient professional must be able to multi-task. This is especially true of paralegals. The number of responsibilities to be filled in a law office are numerous and constant. In addition to multi-tasking, the chore of prioritizing those tasks is equally important. An excellent paralegal is able to do both continuously.
Second on the list, but on par with the necessity of multi-tasking, is experience. No lawyer wants to ask something of his or her paralegal team and receive blank looks in return. Excellent paralegals have understanding of legal jargon, know proper document procedure, and have no problem correctly creating and formatting official documents.
Due to the never ending paperwork present in a law office, an excellent paralegal must have strong writing skills. Hand-in-hand with strong writing skills are those of communication. Paralegals may interact with any number of law personnel and clients on a daily basis. Professional communication skills are vital as paralegals are viewed as representatives of the practice for which they work. This includes written communication, such as email, face-to-face contact both in person or via video, and verbal communication via telephone.
If a paralegal is to be truly be successful, he or she must have technology skills. Creating presentations, drafting documents, keeping spreadsheets, performing online research, video conferencing and emailing are just some of the areas in which excellent paralegals should excel. Most attorneys don’t have the time to keep up with their office’s latest technology, so he or she will rely on his or her paralegal for assistance in these areas.
Organization and attention to detail make up the last components of a truly exceptional paralegal. The simplest mistakes can cost an attorney his or her clients, so paralegals must be trusted completely to be one hundred percent accurate in all they do, and to double check all their work to ensure its accuracy. These details must be organized efficiently as well. Maintaining the organization of schedules and documents, both electronically and in paper form, is absolutely crucial.
When a paralegal has the attributes and talents described above, he or she truly becomes indispensable to the firm for which he or she works. Here at Select Court Reporters in Orlando, Florida, we are always so grateful for these types of paralegals for they truly help make our jobs much easier. Kudos to all the excellent paralegals with whom we have the pleasure of working each day.