Not that kind, Boss. A very sweet paralegal student from a North Carolina Community College paralegal program that offers an associate degree in paralegal studies asked if I’d be her paralegal interview homework. Of course, I always agree to these requests. We had a delightful telephone chat, but I thought I’d answer her questions, in a more or less short Twitter form, because other readers ask me the same questions.
|What does one wear to a paralegal student interview? Allen by ABS suite (Ross @$40 seriously); Apt 9 lace top/cami (Kohl’s @$10 clearance); Colin Stuart heels (thrifted); Pin (antique recovered from 80s jacket)|
Of note, I took in my too big no-belt suit pants (unplanned weight loss recently) with a Fashener by Classy Chica, http://fasheners.com/. It held my pants up all day long!
1. What position do you currently hold? Senior Paralegal at Elliot Pishko Morgan, P.A., http://epmlaw.com/, in Winston-Salem, NC (not because I’m the oldest 🙂
2. How did you get interested in becoming a paralegal? Totally by accident, through my first job as a legal secretary (it offered health insurance).
3. How did you get into the field? I worked my way up from legal secretary, and also earned an associate degree in paralegal studies while working full-time in a law office.
4. Did you take any courses or do any internships that helped you get started in this area? Just full-time on-the-job training – I’d never even had a mortgage or legal matter of my own when I started working as a legal secretary.
5. What is your average day like? Reviewing and summarizing documents, writing all sorts of pleadings and correspondence, and helping clients, often with emergent medical situations.
6. What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? That’s a tough one, and it will vary greatly by specialty area and where you live, but in this area, generally $35k – $55k. The poor economy hasn’t helped paralegal salaries.
7. What do you most enjoy about being a paralegal? Helping our clients get the things they need, like medical treatment, durable medical equipment, and disability benefits.
8. What kind of challenges do you handle? Mostly last-minute litigation emergencies, which happen to even the best advance planners, and of course, medical emergencies for clients.
9. How stressful is your job? It has periods where it is more stressful than others, but as long as our practice management software is up-to-date and our technology keeps improving, it gets less stressful over time.
10. How do you maintain a healthy work life balance? I probably don’t succeed as well in this area, due to blogging for the paralegal profession. But I play the flute, read mysteries, and enjoy my family, including my four-leggeds.
11. What percentage of your day is spent dealing with people? Paper? We’re getting almost paperless, so much less than I used to. I do interact with clients and intakes a great deal during the day, some days more than others.
12. What is the most interesting case or transaction you have worked on lately? I’ve started working on federal criminal and immigration cases, and they are extremely interesting – but I can’t say more due to confidentiality issues.
13. Would you consider going to law school? No, no, and no.
14. What skills are necessary for a successful career in this field? Outstanding writing, communication and technology skills, people skills, and a can-do attitude.
15. What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a paralegal? Work in a legal or related environment while earning a paralegal degree from a reputable program; join a local paralegal association and network like crazy; and have a excellent LinkedIn profile.
This paralegal student was so sweet. She sent me an email thank-you card of a cartoon symphony made up of bears, including one playing the flute.