Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

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vosemdesyatvosem
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:40 am

Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

Postby vosemdesyatvosem » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:18 pm

So, after skimming the forums, it seems like a fair number of people work as paralegals right out of undergrad for a year or two before law school--how do people end up getting these jobs? I've heard mixed things about going through legal staffing agencies, but it seems like there are actually fairly few jobs posted publicly (or maybe I'm just checking at the wrong time of year?).

I'm interested in applying to law school but I know I won't be applying this year (I'm a senior). I've got no legal industry experience at all so I'd like to work as a legal assistant or something for a year or two before I commit to law school--the money wouldn't hurt either. For what it's worth, I've got high grades at a prestigious undergrad, with lots of community service work.

deadhipsters
Posts: 260
Joined: Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:29 pm

Re: Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

Postby deadhipsters » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:28 pm

vosemdesyatvosem wrote:So, after skimming the forums, it seems like a fair number of people work as paralegals right out of undergrad for a year or two before law school--how do people end up getting these jobs? I've heard mixed things about going through legal staffing agencies, but it seems like there are actually fairly few jobs posted publicly (or maybe I'm just checking at the wrong time of year?).

I'm interested in applying to law school but I know I won't be applying this year (I'm a senior). I've got no legal industry experience at all so I'd like to work as a legal assistant or something for a year or two before I commit to law school--the money wouldn't hurt either. For what it's worth, I've got high grades at a prestigious undergrad, with lots of community service work.



Go to various law firm websites. You can apply directly through those websites. If you don't know of any law firms off the top of your head, and you shouldn't, then use the vault100 listing to get a starting point.

Also, look at the NYC DA's office- they hire grads right out of college for paralegal positions- which is far more interesting and preferable to corporate law in my opinion.

Side note: I worked with a number of people fresh out of undergraduate as paralegals for Biglaw in NYC. Of the five that I still keep in touch with, I am literally the only one still perusing law school. Some are becoming teachers others are going back to do their post-bac's to become doctors.

That said, be prepared to get your ass ridden like a slave mule by pissed off lawyers.

frost
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:21 pm

Re: Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

Postby frost » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:30 am

deadhipsters wrote:Also, look at the NYC DA's office- they hire grads right out of college for paralegal positions- which is far more interesting and preferable to corporate law in my opinion.


Absolutely agree. I worked for a DA's office and had much better stories to tell during OCI compared to my friends who worked as biglaw paralegals and their "working on cases" meant putting binders together. You did mention money wouldn't hurt, so DA's may not help in that regard, but I absolutely believe that my work experience helped me get more callbacks this year.

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paratactical
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Re: Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

Postby paratactical » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:40 am

Lots of larger firms have junior paralegal positions that are two year programs designed to get the most out of you while you get to see what a big firm is like. The caveat here is that most of them (at least the ones I've seen) require a two year commitment and above a 3.5 UG GPA.

Most of the firms that do these programs are not looking to fill these spaces now. They will be looking in the spring, as people are ready to graduate. However, it might be helpful to think about contacting staffing agencies before the spring rolls around, so that they already have your info when then requests come in.

Also, another note on legal staffing agencies: they do not always post all the jobs publicly. There's often a lot more out there than they advertise.

If you're in Boston or NYC, I know a few good legal staffing groups you could look into.

vosemdesyatvosem
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:40 am

Re: Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

Postby vosemdesyatvosem » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:20 pm

Thanks for the advice! Paratactical, I'd be really interested in hearing about those legal staffing groups.

goatness
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:46 am

Re: Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

Postby goatness » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:23 pm

I went through the same thing the past month, and I had no trouble getting interviews from biglaw, federal, and small firms. I ended up choosing a small firm so I could work closely with a lawyer who would spend time teaching me (and eventually write me an awesome letter of rec). If you are trying to figure things out, go for a small firm, if you already are sure you want to go to law then go with the biglaw firms for better pay/benefits. Good luck.

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Duralex
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Re: Pre-Law School Paralegal/Legal Assistant Work

Postby Duralex » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:03 am

For me it's the family operation, so it was kind of a no-brainer. I take it you don't have any personal connections to try? Because that's really the way to go (especially so you aren't ridden like a slave mule, as it was so delicately put above.) Otherwise I'd agree that if you're looking for something interesting, biglaw probably isn't the ticket as a paralegal. A DA program would be pretty damn cool.




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