The Paralegal Profession: 5 Must-Have Qualities for Success

The paralegal profession is currently booming, with an ever growing need for professional assistance in law firms. The paralegal job market is expected to continue its growth, while colleges throughout the United States have added and expanded paralegal studies and certification programs. Paralegals work in all areas of law, in many different types of settings. Assisting attorneys with legal matters can be a high demand, high stress career that requires certain qualities for success. Whether you possess these qualities naturally or need to learn them, they are important for being a successful paralegal.

What do you need to be the best paralegal you can be?

  1. Exceptional Reading and Writing Skills. This is top priority for a paralegal to their job well. Ninety percent of your day may consist of proofreading court documents, reviewing medical records, and writing pleadings that are filed with the court. The tiniest mistake on a document, or a mistake in document review could cost a client their case, anger a judge, or have your boss screaming at you.
  2. The Ability to Pay Attention to Detail. Legal cases are complicated. There are often mountains of paperwork to manage. Paying attention to details, whether in a document, or when interviewing witnesses, can open your eyes to the more subtle aspects of the case and will prevent mistakes.
  3. Patience. Clients need help, they are hiring you for a reason. Most average people are lost when it comes to the law. Clients are emotional, confused, and worried. You are there to listen and assist the attorney make the client understand his case. Your patience with people will tested on a daily basis. Keep a happy face!
  4. Organizational Skills. Paralegals simply cannot be disorganized. It is imperative to keep accurate, organized case files for your clients. Judges do not like to wait in court while you find your documents, and when your attorney requests something he usually wants it yesterday. An organized calendar is necessary as well. Keeping court dates and appointments for you and your attorney must be done accurately so that no important hearings or depositions are missed.
  5. Continuous Education. Things are changing fast in the legal profession. Technology has brought many changes in the way evidence and documents are handled. New laws are passed, court rules are changed constantly, and filing procedures often change as well. Keeping up to date on what is going on in your profession as well as the law itself is an important key to success. Donít get left behind at review time! Many firms and local colleges offer instruction, as well as many professional paralegal associations.

Paralegals are a necessary, important part of our legal system. Paralegals provide integral support for the attorneys and clients as well. Being the best paralegal you can be to meet those needs will make for an excellent career. Possessing these important qualities will help you achieve that goal.

If you are ready to jump ahead of the rest, take a look at the many Paralegal degree and Paralegal certificate options available!

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