Saturday, February 9, 2008

Friday Five: What Should Attorneys Look for When Hiring Paralegals?

Over at Lawline.com, an online CLE provider, a list of traits that attorneys should look for when hiring their next paralegal has been posted in their blog under Friday Five: Top Five Things Attorneys Should Look for When Hiring Help. Here's what attorneys should be looking for, and what us paralegals should have:

1. Communication Skills. The ability to communicate in person, on the phone, and through e-mail is as important as any other skill. To limit wasted time and effort on your part, you need to be able to rely on your assistants to communicate with clients and other personnel as if it was you the whole time. The more they can do and say on their own, the less time you will have to spend clearing up mistakes or dealing with insignificant tasks.

2. Professionalism. These people that you hire will be interacting with your clients on a daily basis. In a way, they represent you and your practice just as much as you do. You need to make sure that they appear professional and well-mannered at all times in order to give the people they see the right impression. That all starts with how they dress and act on the initial interview, so pay attention.

3. Career Goals and Aspirations. This does not necessarily mean that they are using the job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but a good employee should be able to tell you about their goals. If they have a clear vision of what they desire in a job and future positions, you know that they are confident and determined workers. They will be more likely to put in the extra effort to get things done.

4. Proven Analytical Skills. Employees need to be detail oriented and willing to do some in-depth research. Even the smallest mistakes can be costly if you are working on a case, so make sure whoever you hire understands that. This can be hard to identify in the interview process, but experience with some type of research is always a good thing to look for.

5. Experience/Interest in your Practice Area. Experience in the legal profession is definitely preferred for the simple fact that is cuts down costly training. The less you have to coach and train someone, the more you can get done. Even better is if someone has experience in your particular practice area, because they will be familiar with certain types of cases, forms, procedures, etc.

1 comment:

  1. That is quality advice for hiring firms as well as paralegals. Lawline.com is a great site for attorneys and seems to have some terrific information on their blog.

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