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Becoming a paralegal?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by slcrocket, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. slcrocket

    slcrocket Contributing Member

    Apr 5, 2000
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    So my wife is currently working as an office manager for a real estate company, but she's thinking of getting certified as a paralegal at a community college near us. She already has her bachelor's degree (but her history degree isn't extremely helpful professionally), but the program only takes an additional year if you already have your undergrad and it's something that has always been an interest, albeit not an extremely passionate one.

    My question is if anyone here has any experience either themselves as a paralegal, or if you know anyone who has done that and whether or not they think it was worth it. I also believe that there are several lawyers on the board, and maybe you can share whether or not it's a good idea and/or anything else I should relay to her. The way I see it, it's a minimal investment (she can take classes at night and keep her current position) for something that could potentially pay off with a somewhat higher salary later on, but I don't know much about it. She LOVES school and has been thinking about going back to get her masters and PhD eventually, but doing so with a continued focus in history strikes me as a minimal return on investment at the least.

    What do you guys think?
  2. Al Calavicci

    Al Calavicci Contributing Member

    Mar 2, 2009
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    I had an ex who was a paralegal. I thought the lawyers she worked for were pretty much scumbags and treated her like a secretary. I'm positive that many or most are nothing like that, but that's the only exposure I have to this topic. Many were inappropriate. She didn't care though, as she was a manipulative b****. So it worked for her.
  3. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

    Apr 14, 2003
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    the job can really suck since you get a lot of people who are under pressure ordering you around but it's ok, basically you are a human filing cabinet. Can be some bad hours too though you do get overtime pay in most places.

    maybe Harder to get these jobs now though as there's been a lot of cost cutting in the industry.
  4. updawg

    updawg Member

    May 20, 2002
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    my wifes a paralegal.

    Most lawyers are complete assholes and suck to work for. Lawyers suck at being managers. This is the way it is at mid or large firms. But it also depends on who you work for and what type of law you are doing.

    its a job but I wouldn't recommend it unless you she has a decent interest. She will hate it otherise.

    And you aren't just file clerk or secretary. If you are a good paralegal you are doing lawyer work you just don't have the same name and billable hour.

    BTW, my wife finally quit biglawfirm and is now at a corporation. She likes it way way way better. Laid back decent people to work with.
  5. lauradelenn

    lauradelenn Member

    Nov 26, 2009
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    Agree with points above.

    I am not a paralegal, but work in a parallel way in social work; I know a lot of lawyers and most of them are VERY difficulty to work with/for.

    I've had several friends that were paralegals also in the past, that went back to school to do other things just to get away from the legal profession - they had terrible things to say about their bosses almost unilaterally and were very stressed all of the time.

    As for what your wife has already; why not consider going through the ACE program and become a teacher? Not the highest paying job in the world, but as a teacher works longer, their salary is usually guaranteed an incremental increase yearly.

    Factor in summers and winter break off, and it's not a bad deal. She could teach at a jr college possibly with only a bachelor's and the certification, but would probably be required to eventually get her master's.

    Another alternative might be one of the nursing programs or allied health fields, such as respiratory therapy. There's an ADN program that is two years only, but is equivalent to an RN. I have several family members that are nurses, and I have done xray and nuclear medicine in the past so have some experience and knowledge of the health field if your wife has any questions about it. Feel free to post the questions here or email me privately if so!

    Good luck to you both.

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