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I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:15 pm
by trkmaniak00
The topic pretty much says it all. I've been a paralegal for a few weeks now and I despise the boring, monotonous tasks I have to do for at least a few hours every day.

I have always been drawn to the law because I love research, but I want my work to be applicable in real life which is why I am not pursuing academia instead.

It would be one thing if it was just a job that I don't like, but now I'm worried if I have been pursuing the wrong career. I did this paralegal gig as a gap year when I didn't feel like I was ready to go to school this fall. Does anyone have any thoughts on how the work differs or any anecdotes about preferring one over the other?

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:29 pm
by UVA2B
*Caveat: never been a paralegal, so this is not anecdotal advice and should not be taken as such

To me, the answer is...maybe. Paralegals and attorneys do different work in a law firm, but the work isn't so substantively different that it'll feel entirely like a different career. So while you'll be doing much more legal research and drafting of documents as an attorney that might feel fundamentally different than some of the administrative matters, cite checking, etc. that you're probably doing as a paralegal now, there are parallels to the skill sets and generally speaking you'll be staffed on cases with paralegals who are helping you with the stuff you're doing now.

You should probably speak to the attorneys at your office about their careers and try to learn from them about the things they do on a day to day basis to see if that's the type of thing you want to do long-term. This certainly could still be the career for you, but until you speak to actual attorneys in your desired practice area, you won't know until it's too late and you'll be invested because you've paid for law school and will have to overcome sunk cost issues.

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:37 pm
by jlittletree
Former paralegal, rising 3L. I loved being in a law office and "working on" cases (to the extent one can w/no legal training). Hated mail merges, binding/assembling pleadings, freaking out over e-filing, etc. I don't think hating being a paralegal necessarily means you'll hate being an attorney. If you hate everything about your workplace-like the substance of the cases you're working on, the attorney personalities you interact with and watching the lawyers do showy stuff like depositions and arguing in court (and can't imagine yourself doing that someday) I'd say thats a bigger problem.

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:34 pm
by rpupkin
jlittletree wrote:Former paralegal, rising 3L. I loved being in a law office and "working on" cases (to the extent one can w/no legal training). Hated mail merges, binding/assembling pleadings, freaking out over e-filing, etc.

The problem is that the bolded is much closer to the work of junior associates than most law students realize.

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:50 pm
by Hutz_and_Goodman
The work of a paralegal is all of the absolute worst shit with none of the positives. No, it doesn't mean you won't like being an attorney. But recognize that you will be doing this type of work to some extent (maybe 10-30%).

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:27 pm
by Johann
yeah, almost 100% yes.

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 9:31 pm
by historyminor
Unfortunately a lot of lawyer work is extremely monotonous. My previous job was undoubtedly worse than most (I worked for a backwater government agency), but to give you an example of the kind of work I did, I once spent a week cleaning up the citations in a document, making sure everything conformed to the bluebook, that the formatting was exactly standard for our department, etc. At the end of that time, the senior staff inserted 100 more random mistakes into the document and had me root them out as "additional practice."

Here's a good test for whether or not you should attend law school: ask yourself whether you enjoy reading casebooks and are intellectually stimulated by the material. If the answer is yes, then you will probably hate being a lawyer.

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Wed May 30, 2018 11:32 am
by albanach
historyminor wrote:At the end of that time, the senior staff inserted 100 more random mistakes into the document and had me root them out as "additional practice."


Surely you'd just do a document comparison and correct the redlined sections?

Re: I hate paralegal work, does that mean I will hate being an attorney?

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:59 pm
by historyminor
Yeah, that worked for some parts of the documents. For others they mixed in excerpts of other things they'd been working on that others had bluebooked, so for those I had to start from scratch. Worst part of it is, they never graded the assignment before I left the agency.