0L With Paralegal Experience

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z0rk
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:11 pm

0L With Paralegal Experience

Postby z0rk » Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:41 pm

I am curious to hear from students who began law school after working a few years as a paralegal. Did working as a paralegal help? did your prior knowledge get in the way? did you do any 0L prep having a background and sense of working with case law?

To explain my situation -- I currently work as a civil litigation paralegal at a mid-sized Firm. Through my work experience I have become very familliar with the rules of civil procedure, case law research, shepherdizing, checking pin cites, and the functions of our civil courts.

While I feel this prior knowledge might be advantageous, I also worry that my prior experience could get in the way of success. It would be helpful to hear from other experienced paralegals turned law students, especially with regard to what worked for them and what were some pitfalls from prior experience.
Last edited by z0rk on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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seancris
Posts: 676
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:10 pm

Re: 0L With Paralegal Experience

Postby seancris » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:47 pm

I too would like to work in potato litigation.

z0rk
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:11 pm

Re: 0L With Paralegal Experience

Postby z0rk » Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:00 pm

This must be some sort of April fools joke. I click to edit the above-post and the word is listed as F i r m but when I submit it reads as potato. Clever...

AT3
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:54 pm

Re: 0L With Paralegal Experience

Postby AT3 » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:15 pm

I'm in a similar situation as you, z0rk, would love to hear what others think. I'm not worried that prior knowledge will get in the way, though, more curious as to how helpful it will end up being. I already do legal research and write memos/briefs (not as often as I'd like, though), figure that will transfer well, knowing what color covers to use for Appellate briefs in California, probably not so much (but then I think these little things will help for OCIs and getting a job, "no, you won't have to teach me what pleading paper is," "no, I won't be completely useless until I figure out how to properly phrase time entries", etc). Most of the attorneys I work with did K-JD, but they think my experience as a paralegal will definitely help (at least in civ pro and torts!) :D I'm sure it will be the same for you, too.

z0rk
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:11 pm

Re: 0L With Paralegal Experience

Postby z0rk » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:32 pm

AT3 wrote:I'm in a similar situation as you, z0rk, would love to hear what others think. I'm not worried that prior knowledge will get in the way, though, more curious as to how helpful it will end up being. I already do legal research and write memos/briefs (not as often as I'd like, though), figure that will transfer well, knowing what color covers to use for Appellate briefs in California, probably not so much (but then I think these little things will help for OCIs and getting a job, "no, you won't have to teach me what pleading paper is," "no, I won't be completely useless until I figure out how to properly phrase time entries", etc). Most of the attorneys I work with did K-JD, but they think my experience as a paralegal will definitely help (at least in civ pro and torts!) :D I'm sure it will be the same for you, too.


That is exactly my feeling. I am also familliar with researching, reading cases, and drafting legal memoranda. The thing is, will this hurt in terms of reading the cases and drafting materials the way my professors want me to? Also, is it detrimental to read cases prior classes starting (I.E. in August), simply because I am curious and want to get a little familliarity before getting into the thick of things.

jrockstar80
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:51 pm

Re: 0L With Paralegal Experience

Postby jrockstar80 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:36 pm

1L, former para here.

working as a para might definitely might screw you up for 1L. basically, you just want to make sure that the framework you're putting doctrinal knowledge into is your professor's framework and not your own framework of what's "right" or "useful." there's a thread on here where someone says something to the effect of "nobody cares about a 1L's thoughts on civil procedure," and as far as exams go, that's basically correct. something to keep in mind for 0L prep as well

as far as transferable skills, firms probably won't see the para thing as tooo much of a plus unless you're working at a firm that does work extremely similar to what you were doing as a para. the amount of a bump you'll get from being a para is directly proportionate to how much $$ it saves them in terms of time training you, and unless it's a lot, like A LOT, it won't matter a ton

the worst part of being a para then going to LS is having more actual legal experience than like half of your profs, which may or may not turn to bitterness at the whole legal education system. ymmv

edited to answer question about research and writing skills too. you will definitely have a leg up on your peers, which i guess would help if your legal research & writing class is graded, but by the end of 1L, your edge, while likely still there over your peers, will mostly have evaporated.




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