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Virtual Paralegalism

The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism

Today’s Quote: Too Old to Get Hired?

“I am (or was) a legal secretary with several years of experience (30+ years). … I have applied to jobs that are more than one-half less than what I was earning. I search for a job each and every day. … Where do people in my age bracket go? Too young not to work but too old to work?” ~ A woman from Warren County, New Jersey wrote to the Senate in an attempt to help get the jobs bill, H.R. 4213, passed.

The Washington Independent has published a thoughtful article about age discrimination as a serious obstacle for older workers that have been unemployed for an extended period of time, many part of a growing group called the “99ers” because their unemployment benefits have run out.

I’ve heard from a number of my readers in their 50s, down-sized from good legal jobs, and now unable to become re-employed in the legal field – or anywhere else. They do feel that their age is a hurdle. Some aren’t getting interviews, and some are – but then never hear anything further, even after expressing their willingness to accept a lower salary.

I’m proud of the law firm that I work for, which values its older staffers, and has hired older workers to fill positions. But when I hear my older readers’ tales of continuous rejection, I do wonder if age discrimination is a growing problem.

What has been your experience? Is age discrimination a disturbing fact – or are other factors keeping older workers from getting new jobs?

Source: The Washington Independent

3 Responses to Today’s Quote: Too Old to Get Hired?

  1. In my experience, older people are looked down upon because they may be "stuck in their ways." Since the legal field is constantly changing, I think there is a fear that older people can adapt to new technology and learn new things. I can relate to this, as I have worked with several "older" people (really, I don't know to what age we're referring) and they have not adapted as well. However, that was just my limited experience and I in no way agree with discriminating against older people.

    On a slightly different topic, not only does our firm prefer younger employees, but they only want women as legal secretaries. I'm really not sure why. Maybe that's their "place"?!

  2. I was outsourced in 1998 and it took me a year to find a job with a law firm. The firm (38 employees) that hired me had two ladies who had been there over 30 years as secretaries, and an office manager who had been there 42 years. Even the messenger had been there 12 years (and they are all still there). I knew it would be a good place to work. I was 51 when they hired me and just retired from there with 10+ years service. They replaced me with a 50 year old. They think prior experience and success is more important than younger and less pay. In fact, when I left I was making more than my contemporaries at the Fortune 500 company.

  3. To the first Anonymous commenter, thanks for sharing your experience. I've met people of all ages who "were stuck in their ways" – and also people of all ages who adapted easily to new situations. It's also been my experience, at least here in the South, that very few males apply for legal secretarial positions.

    To the second Anonymous commenter, thanks for sharing your wonderful story. Your employer clearly values the wonderful maturity and knowledge that come with a long, solid work history.

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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