Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finally - my paralegal experience pays off

Throughout law school, I have been shocked and sometimes upset with how easily my fellow law students and potential employers have dismissed my years of paralegal experience. I worked hard at that job. I helped build a firm from the ground up. I happened to have worked for someone who trusted me and who gave me a long rope (which I sometimes attempted to wrap around my own neck out of frustration. That enabled me to develop an advertising mechanism that doubled the net profit of the firm from that point on. I hired and trained staff, including attorneys. I learned how to handle conflict, both with clients and the sometimes ornery opposing counsel in our cases.

Frankly, I kicked ass at that job. The owner told me I had to go to law school because I had a knack for the business and communication portions of law practice. I was successful, and sometimes, when the joblessness brings up that tiny bit of fear about the future that sometimes ebbs when I feel stressed, I wish I could go back to that job.

Which makes it even harder when the skills I honed there are so easily disregarded as unimportant. Paralegals really are the ones running most law firms. They provide continuity, mediate disputes among staff, ensure quality work product and keep the firm on an even keel.

This morning, I got a call from a firm I applied to. Granted, I didn't really want to start applying to jobs at law firms, but it's a small planitiffs' firm, which doesn't offend my public interest sensibilities. The woman who called immediately told me that the firm had decided to hire someone with 3-5 years of experience, but that they loved my resume and experience, and wanted to consider my paralegal experience as fulfilling that requirement. Hallelujah!

The scary thing is that they want someone who can start up a bankruptcy/debtors' rights practice for them. I have a ton of experience in this area, but not as an attorney. The thought of doing all of that on my own scares me, but is also exciting. In this economy, bankruptcy is booming, and I should take advantage of my knowledge in that area.

I really just want to save the world though.

1 comment:

Esq said...

Wow! That's incredible. I also have a background as a paralegal working for a firm that relies entirely on it's staff so I completely understand where you're coming from. I'm really happy that your hard work is finally being rewarded in the job hunt. Congratulations!