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Virtual Paralegalism

The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism

Can You Really Upskill Yourself?

Yes, you really can.

When I first saw the word upskill in another one of those generic and a wee bit silly articles about why you should leave your dead-end secretarial job to become a paralegal, I thought for a minute it read, “…it may be time to up and kill yourself.”

False alarm, there. Upskill, people, upskill. Build your vocabulary by using this brand new (and weird) word in at least 10 sentences today, but don’t be surprised if someone calls the police.

Besides the weird career jargon, I hate these kinds of articles, especially when they’re geared to newbies thinking about spending a lot of money to get a paralegal education and attempt to enter the profession in a down economy.

I wish, instead of over-hyping (it’s slang but fits right in with upskill) the excitement of the job, these articles emphasized the amount of sometimes tedious analytical and detail work required.

I wish they’d stop telling newbies stuff like “the opportunity for advancement is great” when it really isn’t in a typical legal environment, and say the ability to learn new things every single day, often with little to no advance notice, is crucial.

And I wish they wouldn’t say that we could be the next Erin Brockovich. We do make a difference in our clients’ lives, but the odds of unearthing corporate villains and getting a bonus check the size of Erin’s are about the same as winning the lottery.

Later, peeps. I’m going to go read the latest issue of PCWorld and upskill myself.

2 Responses to Can You Really Upskill Yourself?

  1. You're so right Lynne!! I went from receptionist to legal secretary to paralegal – but honestly that was about 5 years ago. My job title hasn't changed since. If you're looking for career advancement in terms of job title – I wouldn't look to the paralegal field. I think you advance in the paralegal field by broadening your legal knowledge and becoming more involved in client cases. Even though that is not as exciting as becoming the next Erin Brockovich (which I'll admit, I secretly want to unearth corporate villians too).

  2. Great advice, Rachelle. There are some advancement opportunities in large firms or corporate legal departments, especially supervisory, but I think it's a little misleading to let the newbies think that the paralegal job title is but a step up the legal career ladder. Maybe if you're going to law school, but that's pretty risky in these challenging economic times.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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