As a new paralegal, starting a career in the legal field can be exciting, but also challenging and competitive. To be successful, it’s important to have a clear plan for getting experience and advancing
your career as quickly as possible. Here are some of the best ways for new paralegals to get experience and grow their careers:
- Get certified: Becoming a certified paralegal (CP) can help you stand out from other job candidates and show potential employers that you are serious about your career. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) are two organizations that offer certification for paralegals.
- Build a strong network: Networking is key to success in any field, and the legal field is no exception. Attend events, join professional organizations, and connect with other paralegals, lawyers, and legal professionals. This will help you learn about new opportunities and make connections that can lead to job offers and recommendations.
- Get hands-on experience: While education and certification are important, hands-on experience is critical to success as a paralegal. Consider working as an intern or taking on pro bono projects to get experience and build your skills.
- Continuously educate yourself: The legal field is constantly evolving, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices. Consider taking continuing education courses, attending conferences and workshops, and reading legal publications and journals.
- Be proactive: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Instead, be proactive in seeking out new challenges and responsibilities. Offer to take on additional tasks and responsibilities, and seek out projects that interest you.
- Specialize in a specific area of law: Consider focusing your efforts on a specific area of law, such as immigration, personal injury, or family law. This will help you develop expertise in your area of interest, and also make you more marketable to employers.
- Find a mentor: Finding a mentor can be a valuable way to get advice and guidance as you advance your career. Look for a lawyer or paralegal who has experience and success in your area of interest, and ask if they would be willing to mentor you.
In conclusion, there are many steps new paralegals can take to get experience and advance their careers quickly. By getting certified, building a strong network, gaining hands-on experience, continuing to educate themselves, being proactive, specializing in a specific area of law, and finding a mentor, new paralegals can set themselves up for success in the legal field.