With an annual average salary of over $54,000 in the U.S. and projected growth in the industry, there’s never been a better time to consider getting into the paralegal business. To get the job and do well there, however, you’ll need a finely honed set of paralegal skills, not all of which you can learn at law school.
So what are these skills, and how do they contribute to being a paralegal?
Well, we’re glad you asked! Here’s our list of the top 5 skills you need to succeed as a paralegal!
But enough preamble, right? Crack open your law books, and let’s get into this thing.
Proficiency With Legal Research and Analysis
One of the main skills you need to succeed as a paralegal is knowing how to research cases and law to find factual material attorneys can use in court. While this doesn’t mean you need to memorize every statute from the last 50 years, you need to have a solid foundation of basic law and know where to look when you need help. For example, you should feel comfortable navigating online legal databases like Westlaw or looking through physical case records or court transcripts for information.
A good paralegal also needs a bit of detective, as some cases will require you to track down witnesses or evidence an attorney needs for the case.
A large part of being a paralegal involves talking with others, meaning communication is a must-have skill. Since you are the liaison between an attorney and their clients, you must know how to express information clearly and concisely so everything is clear.
Communication is also important with other aspects of the job, like copying witness statements or handling court appointments for an attorney.
In a job filled with lengthy documents and elusive paper trails, the organization is a must-have skill to avoid falling behind or missing a key piece of information you need. You can look here to see if your legal organization skills could improve.
A big part of staying organized is budgeting your time, so everything gets done on schedule. As a result, those with strong time management skills excel as paralegals.
Stay Professional and Committed
In law, displaying a professional attitude is vital to ensuring you have staying power there. It would help if you showed everyone you encounter the utmost respect and courtesy, as any unprofessional behavior reflects on the attorneys you assist and the firm they work for.
A strong work ethic is also critical, as it shows others you have the drive to succeed and that there’s more to the job than a paycheck.
Finally, paralegals must be team players to work with an attorney and their associates to achieve optimal results. You’ll also need to work well with people outside the office, like opposing counsel. Without this synergy, no one can do their jobs, leading to errors and decreased quality of work.
So Have You Got the Paralegal Skills?
So, have you got the paralegal skills you need to succeed in law? If you do, it’s time to get out there and start applying today! And if you’re looking for more tips on hot career opportunities, check out the rest of the posts on our blog!