Entry Level Paralegal - You're In! Now What?


An entry level paralegal is a great path to becoming a legal assistant. If you're a motivated, enthusiastic, professional individual with good people and computer skills you'll excel.

These are the requisite qualities for those seeking passage into this profession. You'll gain invaluable experience and create (hopefully!) lasting relationships.

Typical paralegal duties may include:

  • answering phones;
  • calendaring deadlines;
  • greeting clients;
  • drafting letters;
  • filing;
  • faxing;
  • opening and closing new matter files;
  • photocopying; and
  • errands (e.g. bank deposits, court filings)
  • document production;
  • coding;
  • bates stamping and working with senior litigation paralegals on the litigation/trial process.

Firms do offer mentoring to individuals demonstrating integrity and an eagerness to learn. They'll be pleased to offer you professional guidance.

The list above is in no way exhaustive but merely points out that your job will include variety. That's a good thing! Variety and often new challenges increase your breadth of knowledge.

Be flexible and show a "can do" attitude. These qualities will make you invaluable to your office. Typical paralegal requirements may include:

  • previous law office experience (a good internship will help you with this);
  • basic knowledge of WordPerfect (there are offices still using this program)
  • experience with Abacus, Prolaw, Amicus or database software;
  • computer savvy (the more programs you know the better)
  • Internet sleuth;
  • Microsoft Office including Outlook, Word, Powerpoint, Excel

Find out what local listings ask for and see if your skills match. If not, and you can take a class, do so. The more computer knowledge you have the better you'll be. This certainly will advance your salary as well.

Lastly, even entry level positions will want you to have a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree. If you're working as a legal secretary or case clerk, you can probably get this waived. Certainly the firm will know your track record and may very well be interested in supporting your career goals.

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