Many require a test or certification. Yes No. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 1. Most law firms require that the applicant for a legal secretary position has achieved their high school diploma or GED, and many require an Associate's Degree from a 2-year community college in a relevant department, such as Criminal Justice. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other.
Warnings If you are interested in being a legal secretary, you should strongly consider getting a paralegal certificate. The employment prospects for legal secretaries have dimmed as attorneys type their own briefs and other secretarial tasks become automated. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
What is a freelance paralegal?
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More success stories All success stories Hide success stories. Jane Do Girl in Pensacola, Florida. I respectfully disagree with DLP. My legal career began with a BA in Poli. It became readily apparent that I would not remain a secretary forever as my initiative and thirst for knowledge saw me taking on more tasks and responsibilities. Within 6 months I was drafting full estate planning packages, real estate documents, and handling minor discovery. I eventually went back to school and earned by Paralegal BA, which I completed after being at that firm 5 years.
I soon realized the value of the mentoring and training I received in my 5 years at the solo firm and became a valuable member of our litigation dept. I am now the senior paralegal here, working on my Paralegal Masters' degree, and serve as an officer on the board of the local paralegal association. DLP's comments are simply his viewpoint The Paralegal profession is what you make it; if you're willing to put in the time, effort, hard work, and personal dedication both in and outside the office.
Your viewpoints are YOUR reality, nothing more. I've been monitoring these forums for over a year now and it seems that the regulars are mostly a minor few that have had bad experiences for various reasons and congregate here to do nothing but whine, complain, and trash the profession as a whole. Like any profession, the legal field does have its good and bad, but it is NOT all bad as you and others here would have one believe. Further, I know more paralegals that began as secretaries and worked their way up, than I do those who got a degree first and then broke into the field.
The Paralegal profession grew out of the legal secretaries The advent of degreed entry -level paralegals is still relatively new in the paralegal profession, and quite frankly, there are still enough 'old school' attorneys who look at overall law firm experience more than they do a degree. The prospective candidate with law firm work experience and a degree in any field will more likely win out over the candidate with a 2 or 4 year paralegal degree and no experience.
Lastly, there is something to be said for starting out at the bottom and working your way up; the most successful people have taken this path. I know a lot of prima donas who have the attitude of anything less than 'paralegal' is beneath them, and they certainly haven't gotten very far. The LAT Listserve is not 'my' listserve. As part of their services, they offer a free listserve that anyone can join to network, ask questions, get advice, etc. I recommend it here from time to time as a counter-point to all the negativity that visitors encounter on this forum.
Besides myself, I have yet to encounter a regular poster on this forum who offers a positive viewpoint or even more a objective viewpoint about the legal profession. Also notable, is most of the regulars here no longer work in the legal profession.
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I think individuals looking into the paralegal profession should get a balanced perspective - and hearing from career paralegals who are still going strong is a good viewpoint from the negativity on this forum. Internet forums like this generally tend to attract the disenchanted, but vocal, few who seem to make it their mission to complain the longest and loudest to 'warn others away'.
I have no agenda or motive here other than to be a counter-point voice to all the negativity visitors encounter when coming here to inquire about the legal profession. The horror stories here are the stories of the tellers, they do not speak for every person in the legal profession. You can't and you know you can't.
Beware of absolutes. Once again, Jane, perception and typecasting. Giving your viewpoint is one thing, but saying it applies entirely and absolutely to every person and the entire legal profession is false and wrong. I don't resent certified paralegals. Clearly, more than enough education to hold my own with other paralegals from varying education, certification, and work experience backgrounds. As for 'very far' - the paralegals I admire and look up to are the ones who contribute both within and without their firm, whether it be in their local, state, or national paralegal organizations or just general community organizations.
They are known to be leaders in their firms and can be called on by colleagues, both in and outside their firm, to share knowledge, resources, etc. Their bosses want to hold on to them as valuable employees and if they do look for opportunities elsewhere they get glowing recommendations and make great impressions at their new firm. They're willing to mentor newbies to the field and share wisdom and guidance to develop quality colleagues and help them avoid the pitfalls of their early years.
They speak at seminars, teach courses, present at conferences, etc. Basically, their good reputations, work ethic, and overall positive attitude precede them in the community. The prima donas I was referring to have the general attitude they should start out and only be a paralegal and only do what they perceive to be paralegal tasks.
Anything else is beneath them, they shouldn't have to know anything outside of 'paralegal'. These individuals limit themselves, their usefulness, and become known for being difficult and not team players. Attorneys may put up with them, but they don't engender the same level of professional respect from attorneys or their colleagues they might have otherwise.
Becoming a Paralegal in Maine - ME
My comment about starting at the bottom and working your way up applies to any profession, not just legal. Nothing requires me to share every anecdotal story about my legal career.
Sharing my basic story, offering general advice, and directing to other resources is enough for me. Lastly, you have your own agenda here as well, to vent your personal bitterness here for all the world to see and portray the legal profession as negatively as possible to warn others away.
That's your reality, that's your perception and viewpoint, but there are plenty of others as well. I'm one of them. I think you harbor resentment toward certified paralegals because they, as I, got their paralegal jobs without prior experience. I don't think you like that. I harbor no resentment at all, and certainly don't appreciate you attributing motives to me that I don't have.
ABA certification has little to no significance in my neck of the woods, so this is just a non-issue.
Paralegals who have earned their CLA or RP certifications are acknowledged as having an extra 'weightier' credential, if you will, than those without. They don't call the CLA exam the 'mini-bar exam' for nothing. I already had a college degree when I got my first non-paralegal job at a law firm without prior experience - within 6 months I was doing substantive work and I developed my skills and carried the title of 'Paralegal' long before I completed my degree. I know a number of paralegals in my area who have non-paralegal college degrees and got hired at law firms, worked their way into paralegal jobs and then went and got their paralegal degree or CLA certification; similar to me - this does happen with some frequency.
I do have a problem with those who think certain things are beneath them because they merely carry a title or a degree. I am a well educated Paralegal, but nothing is beneath me to do.. I think I am pretty objective about the paralegal profession and I currently work as a paralegal. I enjoyed my work up until the last few months when there was an attorney change in my group and everything has just gone to pot. It's horrible. It's every bad thing I have ever read from any unhappy current or former paralegal.
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