Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

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Philosopher King
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Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

Postby Philosopher King » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:48 pm

Hi all, I was thinking of applying at this law firm that hires new college grads as paralegals and trains them on the job. I would have to work for them for two years and I think this is a good thing to do. What do people here think? Did anyone ever do this paralegal scheme after graduating? I doubt I can get the job because I'm sure it's competitive but you never know. I have had a lot of losses/failures recently so I'm do for a win.

landla
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Re: Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

Postby landla » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:41 pm

There are many firms and smaller offices that have positions for paralegals or legal secretaries, including those that will train you coming out of college if you commit to two years as you mention.

I did not do one of these programs, but I have worked as a paralegal. I absolutely recommend doing this prior to attending law school. First, it helps you know whether this is what you truly want to do and may give you insight into what type of law you are most interested in/good at so that you can pick courses later on in those areas. Second, work experience only boosts your application and matures you, which many coming from undergrad need. Third, this will boost your job application later, including helping you make connections in the legal field in the market you presumably wish to work after law school.

I could go on, but those are the major points. Even if you don't get it with a major firm, look at smaller and mid-sized ones. Honestly, I would recommend a small firm over a large one for this, since you are more likely to develop close relationships and do true legal work beyond secretarial duties. (I worked in a small law office and was able to prep for court, attend court, do individual client meetings, and much more. People who are one of the crowd at a large firm don't typically get that chance.)

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Philosopher King
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Re: Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

Postby Philosopher King » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:42 pm

landla wrote:There are many firms and smaller offices that have positions for paralegals or legal secretaries, including those that will train you coming out of college if you commit to two years as you mention.

I did not do one of these programs, but I have worked as a paralegal. I absolutely recommend doing this prior to attending law school. First, it helps you know whether this is what you truly want to do and may give you insight into what type of law you are most interested in/good at so that you can pick courses later on in those areas. Second, work experience only boosts your application and matures you, which many coming from undergrad need. Third, this will boost your job application later, including helping you make connections in the legal field in the market you presumably wish to work after law school.

I could go on, but those are the major points. Even if you don't get it with a major firm, look at smaller and mid-sized ones. Honestly, I would recommend a small firm over a large one for this, since you are more likely to develop close relationships and do true legal work beyond secretarial duties. (I worked in a small law office and was able to prep for court, attend court, do individual client meetings, and much more. People who are one of the crowd at a large firm don't typically get that chance.)


Thanks could you recommend some opportunities for medium or small firms that I could look into. I could only find the one in D.C. I live outside of Philadelphia. How could I go about looking for these out-of-undergrad opportunities?

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No13baby
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Re: Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

Postby No13baby » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:35 am

I'm currently going the paralegal route - I just got lucky and found my job on Craigslist. I do highly recommend it - it's been helpful in deciding that law school was a good choice for me.

landla
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Re: Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

Postby landla » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:02 am

I don't know the Philadelphia market well, so I can't recommend any specific ones, unfortunately. You should network and use online job postings (including craigslist) to try and find some opportunities. A decent number of firms that have such opportunities post them in a limited amount of places, sometimes only their own website. To do firm searches, you can use sources like HG.org. For small firms in your area - especially one to three attorneys, try contacting them directly.

Good luck!

lurker20
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Re: Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

Postby lurker20 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:34 pm

I am a legal assistant and just finished my admissions cycle. I highly recommend being a legal assistant before going to law school (if only to make sure you actually want to do law). I would recommend literally going down the list of the Top 100 law firms in the Vault ranking and e-mailing every firm with a Phili or DC office. If there is no job listing posted, I would still send my resume and cover letter to the recruiting contact saying "I would like to apply for a legal assistant position, if one is available" or something like that. It takes a long time but it's worth the effort (it's how I got my job).

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cloudhidden
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Re: Being a paralegal for two years before law school good?

Postby cloudhidden » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:14 pm

landla wrote:There are many firms and smaller offices that have positions for paralegals or legal secretaries, including those that will train you coming out of college if you commit to two years as you mention.

I did not do one of these programs, but I have worked as a paralegal. I absolutely recommend doing this prior to attending law school. First, it helps you know whether this is what you truly want to do and may give you insight into what type of law you are most interested in/good at so that you can pick courses later on in those areas. Second, work experience only boosts your application and matures you, which many coming from undergrad need. Third, this will boost your job application later, including helping you make connections in the legal field in the market you presumably wish to work after law school.

I could go on, but those are the major points. Even if you don't get it with a major firm, look at smaller and mid-sized ones. Honestly, I would recommend a small firm over a large one for this, since you are more likely to develop close relationships and do true legal work beyond secretarial duties. (I worked in a small law office and was able to prep for court, attend court, do individual client meetings, and much more. People who are one of the crowd at a large firm don't typically get that chance.)


Interested in how much of a boost firm experience gives one come OCI and beyond. Besides the connections (I imagine less important if you do not attend school in the same market that you worked at prior to matriculating), can anyone comment whether the fact of having previously been employed in a legal office helps demonstrably, or only negligibly in getting a future position at another firm? Is it worth pursuing solely on that consideration alone?




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