You may be thinking about becoming a paralegal, but are not entirely sure if it is the right field for you. Before you make the commitment to take on this intense course of study, how can you know for certain that it is what you will want to do? There are some questions which you can ask yourself beforehand, that will help you to get a clearer view of this line of work and will also help you to make the decision as to whether or not it is the field that you wish to pursue.
Logically, becoming a paralegal should first include a significant amount of interest in the legal field. Although this is certainly not the only factor, it is by far the most important. Regardless of which field of law you will be eventually working in, you will be dealing with the subject in all of its forms on a daily basis. To be enthusiastic about your job is the number one key to being successful at it in the longrun.
If you have not yet considered it, your degree of interest in dealing with people is also an important factor. As a paralegal, you will not only be expected to get along well with the attorneys and your co-workers, you will also be expected to show an honest interest in the clients and the general public. This does not necessarily mean that you must be a very outgoing type of person, but rather that having the personality characteristics and people-skills of cooperation, concern, and helpfulness, are essential to this line of work.
Being a “team player” is also a necessary asset in doing well in your paralegal job. An effective paralegal cannot be the kind of person who has the desire to take the center stage for attention or credit, nor one who has the habit of expecting other people to perform her duties for her.
A good paralegal is also a fast learner. This is necessary in terms of being able to know what you need to do and how you need to do it without frequently having to go to others for assistance, as well as possessing a good memory which can accurately recall case facts, communications, and all of the other details which are a part of a paralegal’s everyday work life.
Basic skills are also important. While you do not have to be an expert, you will need to have a reasonable amount of math skills, know the basics of computer use, and be considerably above average in both written and verbal communication.
As working in a law office consists of a great deal of confidential information and communications, it is essential that you be the type of person who not only understands the importance of confidentiality, but are also prepared to abide by it. A person who enjoys gossip, or sharing everything she knows about everything, is not a good prospect for paralegal work!
A paralegal should have the quality of commitment to the community. In this line of work you will be providing a service to the community in which you live, either directly or indirectly. Concern for justice, and concern for the community at large, is an important asset for anyone who is thinking about beginning a career as a paralegal.
If you see yourself in these descriptions, becoming a paralegal may be the career you have been looking for!