I follow three national paralegal listservs: LAT-Forum,ParalegalGateway and Paralegals. (See “Favorite Paralegal Sites” at the sidebar for listserv links.) Being a part of thelistservs helps me feel connected to other paralegals all over the country. I also learn a lot from other paralegals answers. I view the few minutes a day it takes to skim posts as an ongoing continuing education opportunity.
Sometimes I post a short answer directly to the listserv, but every once in a while, someone posts a question which requires a more in-depth response, and maybe even a little research off the day job clock. Hmmmwhen to respond? Voila! A new blog entry topic for Practical Paralegalism is born: “Listserv Answer”.
Finding a job is a key topic among listserv members these days, especially for new graduates with little to no experience. Not only are there fewer paralegal job openings, but there are more experienced candidates vying for the same lower level jobs candidates who might not have applied a year ago. These veterans will even consider salary reductions. Employers are in the catbird seat in that they have to invest little training by hiring an experienced paralegal they might previously not have been able to afford.
Thats the reality for most professions in America today: fewer jobs and more competition for them. But that doesnt change the fact that many paralegal graduates have invested considerable time and expense in their degrees, and have received a quality education which will well prepare them for any job which requires an articulate problem-solver, creative thinker and multi-tasker.
So, what else can you do with the paralegal degree? Here are some related jobs (and links to some informative paralegal career websites) that applicants who have paralegal training and/or experience might consider:
Bar association administrator
Claims adjuster, administrator, appraiser, examiner and investigator
Compliance and enforcement inspector
Conflicts analyst or specialist
Design/developer of trial visual aids
Editor for a legal or business publisher
Equal employment opportunity specialist
Legal software representative
Loan closing coordinator
Loan interviewer and clerk
Occupational health and safety specialist and technician
Patent database administrator
Real estate agent, broker or assistant
Risk management technician
Securities compliance officer
Small business owner
Title examiner, abstractor and researcher
Title insurance administrative assistant
Trial court coordinator
Victim or witness advocate for county district attorney’s office or U.S. Attorney’s office
The good news is that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession is expected to grow at a rate much faster than the rate for all occupations. In the interim, working for several years at one of the other kinds of jobs listed above can “beef up” a baby resume and give paralegal graduates the transferable skills they need to transition to a job labeled paralegal or legal assistant in a few years or to discover the related dream career they never thought of when they entered a paralegal program.
Got a related job not on this list? Send me the title and I’ll update the list. Comments or email are welcome.