The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
While there are indicators that the economy is showing small signs of recovery, the reality is that many of our fellow paralegals are still out of work and suffering severe hardships due to the loss of income and key benefits, such as health insurance. Showing our support for paralegals who are struggling to find work, and helping them if we are in a position to do so, is part of being a member of the larger paralegal community.
The National Law Journal includes Phoenix paralegal Theresa Prater in a feature story about how the economy has affected legal professionals. Prater is finding that her 27 years of legal experience may be hindering her job search, with some potential employers intimidated by her knowledge and her former salary. She is teaching an introductory class to paralegal students but is honest with them about the scarce paralegal opportunities in the Phoenix area right now.
The Tennessean is reporting that North Dakota paralegal Cindy Shawcross lost her job and health benefits in July after a motor vehicle accident. A thyroid cancer survivor who exhausted her retirement savings trying to maintain group health insurance, she’s now unable to pay for follow-up care for that condition, and hoping to qualify for a free mammogram needed to further examine a new lump in her breast.
Karen Prows, a California paralegal employed by the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, was informed last week, along with fellow office assistant Judy Smart, that their jobs are ending October 10, as reported by the Contra Costa Times. Not only is she worried about the people she serves in the Crime Victims Assistance Department, but she is also wondering why she is one of only two employees laid off, out of 156 employees eligible for early retirement.
Finally, Michelle Singletary, a financial columnist for the Washington Post, has been featuring Maryland paralegal Bobbie Wilson and her husband, Juan, in this year’s “Color of Money Challenge”. Wilson lost her job in January, following her husband’s job loss in 2008. The couple has five children. Although she has located temporary work which has been extended from October to December 31, the couple received a foreclosure notice for their home.
These stories remind me not only to appreciate the simple act of showing up to work, but also that we’re a community of intelligent and resourceful legal professionals. It’s been inspiring to see many individuals and groups stepping up to the plate to support others struggling to find work, with job banks and leads, resume assistance, food drives and even just plain encouragement and a sympathetic ear, but sometimes it makes me wonder – could we be doing more?