Practical Paralegalism has been in existence for almost three years, and during that time I’ve been honored to share the professional profiles of over 65 legal support staffers, including their fantastic practice tips. Instead of making readers research the last three years for these valuable nuggets of information, each week I’ll share 10 paralegal practice tips from the experts themselves, [mostly] in the order received.

Paralegal Practice Tips 1-10:

1.  Listen not only to the words but also to the tone. Pay attention to body language. Often the most significant help the paralegal provides is not in giving the answer but in framing the question. ~ Wendy Kimel, ACP, NCCP, North Carolina paralegal

2. Don’t stress about what you can’t change, but strive to change what you can. ~ Patricia “Patti” Clapper, ACP, NCCP, North Carolina paralegal

3.  Keep a spiral notebook at hand to write down everything you do every day. Jot down the name of the cases you work on, the name of the pleadings or correspondence, phone calls made and received, the substance of the calls, and the time spent on each. This information comes in handy for billing, or giving your attorney a status update.~ Lourdes Bugarin, Texas paralegal

4.  Learn the rules of procedure and court rules for your practice area, and keep the bound books handy. Highlight, flag, and refer to them often, even when (especially when) you already “know” the rule. ~ Kim Plonsky, North Carolina paralegal

5. Sign up and read the free e-newsletters provided by law firms, vendors and professional organizations. Trends in litigation and technology move quickly. Use them as professional intelligence resources and share with the attorneys you report to and other paralegals. ~ Jeffrey L. Smith, North Carolina paralegal

6.  Billable hours are a necessary evil. Be sure to plan your year so you meet your billable hour goals. ~ Vicki Voisin, ACP, Michigan paralegal

7.  Network, network, network! Joining NALA and the LAT Listserv were two of the best things I have ever done for my career. ~ Melissa Wickerath, ACP, Iowa paralegal

8.  Be willing to jump in and volunteer for unassigned tasks, even when it is outside your “comfort” zone. This applies to both your job and your professional associations. ~ Sharon Robertson, ACP, North Carolina paralegal

9.  Bring compassion to your work. Every area of law revolves around people with valuable lives and concerns. ~ Christine Nienstedt, Washington paralegal

10.  Be organized – having a good feel for what needs to get accomplished every day can make your life so much easier. I’ve always used daily and weekly to-do lists to keep me on target. ~ Laurie Mapp, Canadian virtual legal assistant

I hope you enjoyed re-visiting the profiles of these terrific legal professionals as much as I did. If you’re willing to share your profile – and a valuable paralegal practice tip – the quick and easy questionnaire is located at

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