How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

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SkepticalAboutLaw
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:44 pm

How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby SkepticalAboutLaw » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:35 pm

I browsed through several pages of posts to see if this question has been recently answered. I found a few people asking about their personal circumstances, but not much regarding the general job prospects for paralegals. How hard is it to get into a firm as a paralegal, legal assistant, or receptionist/secretary? What kinds of people actually get hired for these jobs? Are you completely screwed if you did not graduate from a prestigious school?

Bonus points if you can address my personal situation. I would ideally like to work in an immigration firm, but I would be just fine working at a miscellaneous small firm. I am not particularly looking for biglaw paralegal jobs and am not set on NYC, DC, etc.

Am I going to get autorejected from everything in NYC, DC? How about everything in immigration? Everything period?

Here's what I've got.

The good:
-4.0 GPA in my BA
-Fluent Spanish
-Partial fluency in three other languages
-"Work experience" -- three summers at a nonprofit and two years peer mentoring/basic counseling

The bad:
-BA from a random public university
-No legal experience, not even an internship
-Graduated in August, so no post-BA work experience

I realize that I probably sound utterly ridiculous, but I am actually asking if I have a shot. Am I wasting my time applying for work in DC, NYC, etc because of where I went to school?

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gavinstevens
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 6:17 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby gavinstevens » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:43 pm

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=195995

Good info in the above thread answers most of your questions.

As to your educational background, there are definetly firms that say they only hire from ivies/top ugs. I think that's more the case in primary markets.

I work at a big firm in a secondary market and the paralegals/legal assistants usually had good grades (3.5+) from a state school, went to a top ug (maybe not ivy, but Northwestern, Emory, etc.), or have connections.

SkepticalAboutLaw
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:44 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby SkepticalAboutLaw » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:52 pm

Thanks for the reply and the link!

SkepticalAboutLaw
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:44 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby SkepticalAboutLaw » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:14 pm

P.S. If anyone wants to share additional insight into paralegal hiring outside the biglaw firms on the East Coast, I remain very interested in hearing from you. I get the impression that most TLS users aim to work in biglaw, but if there is anyone out there who knows what happens outside the world of East/West Coast biglaw, I would love to hear from you.

Younger Abstention
Posts: 335
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby Younger Abstention » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:49 pm

Here is your firm. Make it happen: http://www.fragomen.com/

SkepticalAboutLaw
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:44 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby SkepticalAboutLaw » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:10 am

Thanks!

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:48 am

A 4.0 GPA & English/Spanish fluency should get you many more interviews than you can handle--especially if targeting immigration and/or criminal law. Nevertheless, many large law firms target grads from the Ivies, baby-Ivies, & other elite undergraduate schools like Chicago & Northwestern so you will have to undertake a lot of legwork to get into the primary markets of NYC, DC & Chicago. Good luck !

stressed2010
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:38 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby stressed2010 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:50 am

you can also try temp agencies that specialize in legal recruiting. that's how i got my paralegal gig before law school. started as a temp and then was hired full time

stressed2010
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:38 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby stressed2010 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:52 am

to clarify it was at a nyc big law firm

SkepticalAboutLaw
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:44 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby SkepticalAboutLaw » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:35 am

Thanks to both of you for the tips!

SchopenhauerFTW
Posts: 1793
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:22 pm

Re: How Hard Is It To Get Paralegal/Legal Assistant Jobs?

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:07 pm

stressed2010 wrote:you can also try temp agencies that specialize in legal recruiting. that's how i got my paralegal gig before law school. started as a temp and then was hired full time

TITCR




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