Job Path: Life as a Paralegal

Job Path: Life as a Paralegal
This is a true story as told to JustJobs Academy which houses career interviews and job search advice for professionals in any industry. Visit to read about how to search for the perfect job and get promoted once you’ve found it. I have worked as a paralegal for two years. I work in the law field with an attorney in the city I live in. The work that I do varies depending on the types of cases that the attorney has during the week. Most of the work that I do involves researching former trials that the attorney can use when they go to court. I also type papers and depositions for the attorney when he needs them. I think that most people think all I do is sit behind a desk and do paperwork during the day. This is not the case if the attorney is very busy with trials. Sometimes I will deliver papers to the courthouse for trials in session, and I will go talk to other attorneys to relay information about the clients the attorney is working with. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate my satisfaction with my job and eight. If the hours were a little shorter during the week, I may be able to enjoy my job more. During weeks that there are several cases, I don’t get out of the office until after hours and then I miss out on things at home. There are some cases that have made my heart melt. The cases that involve children being reunited with their parents after being in foster care are what make me love my job. I enjoy what I do, but I would like to try to go further in the law field. I would like to try to go to school to be an attorney. I am a single mother with three children. I did not start school to be a paralegal until my children were in school. I was a mother who came home from school to attend to children, and now I come home from work to take care of my children’s needs. The way I got started in this line of work is ironic. I was a client of the attorney I work for. He represented me in a case and he had a job opening after I graduated school. I interviewed for the position and he hired me. If I could go back and change things, I would have started school sooner than I did. I would also have taken more classes in computers so that I would understand more about operating a computer and how to type papers in a better way. I have learned that not everyone is treated equally. There are some attorneys who do not like the fact that I work for the attorney I work with. In the city I live in, there are several types of attorneys and I happen to work for one who represents people who have been in all variations of trouble and it can be disheartening listening to some of the comments I hear. The one thing I have learned about the working world is that most people are genuinely thankful when you help them. When you see the smile they give you after they have been released from jail or after the attorney has won their case, it warms your heart and soul. As a paralegal, there is not really anything strange that I have seen. One of the things I have seen on occasion is when someone comes in to the office and wants to have representation from the attorney only to find out that the person who has filed charges against them has already sought out the help from the same attorney. The reason I get up and go to work each day is to support my children. I also enjoy what I do in the office. I like the variety of cases that I get to be involved in. I have learned a lot while working in the office. I would say some of the most irritating challenges I come across are people who have been drinking or who have been in disputes because they have hit a female that make me mad. Overall my job is not that stressful. The only time I feel like I can’t handle it is when the attorney has several cases in one week to get done. As long as I can get in a lunch during the day and I can stretch at some point I can lead a fairly relaxed life. I make about $35,000 a year. However, when I started out I did not make this much. It is a paid position that I have earned and I do live in a larger city. Some of the smaller cities near me have paralegals that only make in the $20,000 range. I take about two weeks of vacation during the year, and I get holidays off. This is plenty of time for me to spend with my children and to get things done for myself. The schooling that I have is a two-year degree in criminal justice. Computer skills are necessary for this field. I would tell a friend who wanted to enter this field that they need to be able to organize their work. They need to know how to deal with other people without getting upset. In five years I would like to be in school to be an attorney. Job path paralegal image from Shutterstock
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