Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School? Forum

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get it to x

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Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by get it to x » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:15 pm

Just curious if any current law students could provide any insight into whether or not working in a legal environment prior to law school gave them a leg up? The only direct correlation I could think of was maybe in legal research and writing courses but maybe I overlooked something.

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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by onthecusp » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:50 pm

I'm a 0L paralegal starting in August, and I'll let you know in about 6 months. I honestly don't think it makes a difference. Any advantage I might have working as a paralegal could probably be achieved working as a telemarketer selling newspapers in silicon valley.

From what I can tell, my day to day responsibilities have very little to do with the topics covered in my pre-law school studies involving horn books and E&E's. 99.9% of everything I have covered has absolutely nothing to do with what I do at my law firm.

I'm exposed to a lot of family law cases, workers comp, criminal defense type cases, but I don't feel that it has benefited me, with the slight possibility that I am 100% un-intimidated going into law school because I already know the assholes types that I'll be dealing with. I talk with attorneys all day and all of them are full of shit. I'm ready for that. As far as learning the black letter law, I think I'll still have to do that.


I may concede that working at this firm has possibly contributed to my legal reasoning ability for the purposes of handling hypotheticals. By some stretches of the imagination, that may have helped prepare me for law school exams......slightly.

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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by presh » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:02 pm

Last edited by presh on Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by saucie » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:17 pm

I was a paralegal for years before entering law school. It helped for background in specific areas, but not for legal research or writing. It helped a little in understanding factpatterns and being able to think up more possible facts. It did not help at all in taking the exam. Most of any advantage you may get from being a paralegal is eliminated by exam time, if not within the first month.


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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by bk1 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:21 pm

I would think that while the skills of a paralegal are not generally applicable to taking a law school exam, people who are former paralegals are more likely to be dedicated and thus do better on the exams because they are the kind of people who have worked full work weeks for a while and then decided to go back and pursue law school.

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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by 270910 » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:29 pm

It might help you with the unimportant stuff, but hardly for law school exams. Hell, being a third year associate probably wouldn't help you with exams. They test a very particular skill set that has much more to do with complex thinking than the actual day to day routine of legal work that a paralegal will be doing.

Still, you'll have less unfamiliarity than your peers to how the system works, and probably a large leg up on legal research and writing.

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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by McNulty » Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:38 pm

I'd say it helps for when you're done with school. You be more familiar with office procedure and administrative BS. Don't forget the vast amount of case management software you probably learned.


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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by pehaigllleises » Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:51 pm

I am a former lit paralegal and I did really well my first year. However, I feel like the advantages it conferred were slight, but even slight advantages are really great when you're stressed and pressed for time.

I knew how to cite check and Bluebook already, so I didn't bother consulting the book on my first paper (time saver). When I met with my writing professor, I only had to go over the advanced nitpicky stuff or a few areas of misunderstanding (more efficient). I knew the structure of the federal court system already. I knew that "discovery" was not the channel with the sharks. I also knew that discovery comes before trial and can be quite extensive and expensive, which some of my classmates briefly misunderstood in class in Civ Pro I (apparently Civ Pro II at most other schools). I knew the complete life cycle of a litigation, and ways its life could end early. Civ Pro I explained the rules behind the processes I had helped with as a paralegal, and it connected and fleshed out the dots that were already in my head.

I had also just finished working 40-80 hour weeks for the past 2.5 years. I had no trouble attending class or reading for 40-60 hours per week and feeling satisfied with the amount of sleep (7-8 hours a night) and relaxation time that was left over. I didn't go to a serious program at a serious college (History at NYU), so I imagine that learning for 40-60 hours a week would have been a real challenge for me fresh out of college. I was a little bit older, and thus probably a little more mature, and I was used to spending a lot of time on work. This wasn't paralegal specific, but can come from any taxing job undertaken between college and law school.

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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by Jack Smirks » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:16 am

I'm interested in this too. As a 0L paralegal I'm hoping that it will confer some benefits, my guess is that it will help in research and legal writing abilities


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Re: Do Paralegals Fare Better In Law School?

Post by wiscohopeful » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:39 pm

I just finished 1L year and was a paralegal before law school. I can say I did better than nonparalegals and then there were others who did better than me. In all honesty, it doesn't really make a difference because even if there is some minor benefit to start with, you aren't competing for a grade until 4 months in when anyone who is competent has caught up. Also, it really doesn't benefit a student in anything other than legal writing, they move so slow and baby you through the research methods anyway that anyone who is competent won't be outdone simply because of that. But hey! we have applicable work experience so that bodes well for OCIs right?

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