Paralegal Division, 0219 UTBJ, Vol. 32, No. 1. 64

Author:by Greg Wayment
Position::Vol. 32 1 Pg. 64
 
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Paralegal Division

Vol. 32 No. 1 Pg. 64

Utah Bar Journal

February, 2019

January,

2019

Getting

That First Job as a Paralegal

by

Greg Wayment

My

first piece of advice, if you want to be a paralegal: start

working at a law firm. Experience is crucial. Seek a position

working as a receptionist, runner, file clerk, or assistant.

Any entry-level position at a firm or in the legal group of a

corporation is a great stepping stone. You want to look at

firms that practice in the area of law you are interested in

and ones that have a structure in place where paralegals are

a key part of the process.

Some

firms, for example firms that specialize in personal injury

and litigation, tend to utilize paralegals more than other

practice areas. I work in litigation and trial support at a

firm that specializes in intellectual property and commercial

litigation so a lot of my advice is geared towards a career

in that area, but most of these principles will apply to any

paralegal job.

I

recommend that you be proactive and that you seek a position

out instead of passively watching the classifieds for job

postings and responding to those. One suggestion would be to

get a copy of the Utah Business Magazine, which annually

publishes a list of the largest law firms in the State of

Utah, and work your way through the list. The list is based

off of number of attorneys as opposed to revenue, etc. Go

online, make some telephone calls, and get email addresses

for the key hiring people at these firms.

There

are also many smaller, but great, firms that do not appear on

this list, but which can be great places to work as well.

However, the smaller the firm, the less likely they are to

hire a paralegal. Larger firms tend to have more support

positions and turnover. Another resource is

Martindale-Hubbell, which lists attorneys and law firms,

including by practice area. Once you have a name, email

address, and phone number, put a professional cover letter

and resume together and start sending them to the key hiring

people. You may even want to call and introduce yourself, but

if you do be professional and brief.

During

the interview process, demonstrate what you have accomplished

in the past for organizations for which you have worked. Show

that you are comfortable and sure of yourself in

high-pressure situations and that you understand that in a

supporting role at a law firm, you may have to work long

hours at repetitive tasks. Make sure you research the firm

and know what kind of work it does and what kinds of cases

with which it has been involved. If you can work your

knowledge of the firm into the interview discussion, it will

...

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