Legal Employment Before Law School

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TIKITEMBO
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Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby TIKITEMBO » Mon May 09, 2011 3:16 pm

I was hoping to get some advice on how to look for paralegal work or legal secretary jobs that I don't need to have a degree for. I'm applying for law school this fall and I'd like to get some experience in the industry. I've tried some of the normal routes, temp agencies, newspapers, etc., but I was wondering what people on this forum would recommend. Doesn't have to be paralegal or legal secretary, but something related. Thanks!

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swilson215
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby swilson215 » Mon May 09, 2011 3:31 pm

Maybe contact your local bar association? Even if they don't have a referral service, a lot of times they will have an inside track on which attorneys in your area are looking to hire administrative help.

Or make friends with someone who currently works as an assistant or paralegal at a firm locally. A lot of the hiring is done laterally or by word-of-mouth, and they'll know which firms are looking at filling open positions.

I've been working as a legal secretary/research assistant at a midlaw firm in my hometown for the last two years (since I graduated) and would highly recommend getting the experience in the field before you 100% commit yourself to attending law school.
Last edited by swilson215 on Mon May 09, 2011 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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joemoviebuff
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby joemoviebuff » Mon May 09, 2011 3:33 pm

I work as a runner and a fileroom clerk for a 100+ attorney firm in Salt Lake. I'm having lunch with the hiring partner later this month and have been out with a couple other attorneys. I go to court to do filings and other things on a regular basis, and have seen a couple of lawyers argue in the court of appeals. Most of them are willing and eager to talk to you about the profession, but a few are real assholes (as can be expected in any profession). The only requirement for the job was that I be 21 years old to drive the company van. Not a bad job at all.

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TIKITEMBO
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby TIKITEMBO » Mon May 09, 2011 3:35 pm

Oh, nice I didn't think to contact the local board. I'll do that right now. Thanks!

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Olive
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby Olive » Mon May 09, 2011 3:51 pm

I tried to do something similar last year. As I was searching for paralegal jobs a friend of mine told me about a position as a runner at a local firm so I forwarded my CV and ended up getting it. The first few months were not fun or exactly what I was looking for, but because I showed interest, thanked them when they took time to explain something about the law, volunteered for things, etc., they gradually let me do more things. Eventually they hired me to be a legal assistant, and I really enjoyed it (and now have much more sympathy for runners).

So FWIW, sometimes the runner/file clerk, etc. position can turn into something more rewarding, and it might be worth looking into.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon May 09, 2011 4:46 pm

Are you currently in undergraduate school ? If so, career services should be able to help with respect to many elite law firms & DA offices for paralegal positions that do not require a paralegal degree. Spanish proficiency or fluency should help with DA office positions. Expect salary in the $38,000-$42,000 plus overtime range. Typically a minimum 3.5 or 3.6 GPA is required.

P.S. Salary & reqs. are only for NYC, DC & California positions.

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Lwoods
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby Lwoods » Mon May 09, 2011 5:06 pm

Have you tried temp/placement agencies specifically for legal support work? The first legal job I got was through a sorority sister (who got hers through our school's career services), but when I moved cities, I signed up with a legal staffing agency on a Tuesday and had my first gig on Thursday.

Good luck!

strawboy1230
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby strawboy1230 » Tue May 10, 2011 1:22 am

I think most of the big firms have finished hiring paralegals..but here's my 2 cents:

Don't go through any agencies to find a paralegal job. Just do it yourself. Make a spreadsheet, list all the firms that you want to apply to, and just send their "administrative staff" recruiter your resume and cover letter. I don't know what type of paralegal job you're looking for, but the standard biglaw paralegal jobs that pay about 40-45k base usually hire people who've just recently graduated from at least a top 15 undergrad. ...GPA doesn't have to be too high as they know that you'll be doing pretty basic stuff. Are you graduating this year?

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TIKITEMBO
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Re: Legal Employment Before Law School

Postby TIKITEMBO » Tue May 10, 2011 8:42 pm

Thanks to everyone for the replies. I graduated a couple of years ago from a good public university for the region I'm in, but it's nothing special. I've got a good G.P.A., graduated with a lot of fancy recognitions, and also have a lot of good work experience. Government and non-profit work and I've got some Spanish experience.

I'm already working with a temp agency for placement that I've heard recommended by some lawyers around here, but they don't really get too many temp to hire positions apparently.

Any suggestions on how to identify law firms that would be good to work for in the area? I'm living in a mid-sized city and it's a bit overwhelming at the moment to sift through all of them.




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