The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
What does being more present on a daily basis mean for my paralegal career? I have been working in the legal field for a long time. When we reach certain points in our professional careers, becoming complacent and even bored is a risk. I remind myself frequently that I still have a great deal to learn and there are many paralegals out there who know a lot more than I do. We also cannot expect others to jumpstart lulls in our careers. Sometimes we have to stretch our own wings to get out of a professional rut.
For me, being more present as a paralegal every day means focusing on the following:
Patience: Paralegals working in fast-paced environments need an extra measure of patience, especially with ourselves, our supervising attorneys and our clients. Sometimes we can reduce stress (at least temporarily) by taking a deep breath and focusing on what needs to be done immediately. (Plus, if we become hysterical, what is everyone else going to do?)
Dedication: When the going gets tough, we remind ourselves why we decided to become paralegals in the first place. Most of us entered the field because we love the law and we love to use our mental acuity to solve problems. For me, the real “rush” is solving clients’ problems and obtaining benefits they would not receive if our firm did not represent them. (Also, I like winning arguments with insurance adjusters.)
Learning: As paralegals, we never know everything. The law and its practice constantly change. Unique legal situations arise which can still surprise us. The learning resources for paralegals are almost endless, including listservs, professional groups, continuing legal education, legal publications and my personal favorite, Google.
Mentoring: All of us have something to offer other paralegals, whether we have completed paralegal classes or a degree, or worked for one year or twenty years. Mentoring can be as simple as being interviewed by a paralegal student for a class assignment, speaking to a paralegal class, or answering a question on a listserv.
Being present every day can renew our professional passion and commitment. If it makes me a more committed family cook, I will let you know.Are you a paralegal who made a professional resolution for 2009? Please feel free to comment and share.