Paralegal jobs have become more complex in recent years, and they now often include higher-level duties once handled by associates and partners. New technologies, such as cloud computing and social media, are also changing paralegal responsibilities. And as law firms strive to offer clients more cost-effective services, many paralegals are expected to assume a "blended" role of paralegal/legal assistant – in short, to handle the work of (at least) two people.
Paralegals who are prepared to meet these high expectations – and who have the knowledge and attributes that can make employers sit up and take notice – will likely have their pick of employment opportunities. To find the paralegal role that's the right fit for you, consider working with specialized legal job recruiters. Here's why:
- Legal job recruiters can assess your marketability. Experienced job recruiters with leading staffing firms that serve the legal industry can help determine if you have the right skills and experience to achieve your career goals as a paralegal. They can provide insight into which strengths can give you a competitive edge and what areas you may want to improve on to better position yourself as an in-demand candidate. They can also help steer you toward challenging assignments that can help you grow professionally.
- Job recruiters can connect you with projects in hot specialty areas. The Robert Half Legal Salary Guide reports that paralegals with backgrounds in healthcare, corporate law, litigation and compliance are in strong demand among law firms and corporations. Job recruiters can provide you access to full-time or interim opportunities – such as a legal project team assignment – in the most active practice areas. As an interim professional, your exposure to specialty practice areas in law can help you build expertise that could be helpful when interviewing for full-time positions (and might even lead directly to a permanent role).
- Job recruiters can connect you with valuable training. Some of the top legal staffing firms provide paralegal candidates with access to Continuing Legal Education (CLE) , including legal seminars and courses that can help you maintain or build in-demand skills. Some also offer online legal training to registered candidates at no additional cost. Legal compliance, project management and Microsoft Office training are just some of the courses available through the program.
- Job recruiters can help ensure you earn competitive compensation. To best serve employers and candidates, job recruiters must stay attuned to hiring and salary trends in their local market, as well as in the broader field they serve. They use that insight, along with relevant research, to help legal organizations ensure they are offering pay and benefits that will help them attract and keep top talent. Job recruiters also share that same knowledge with candidates to assure they earn competitive compensation in interim and project roles and are well prepared for salary negotiations with potential employers.
Look for job recruiters with eDiscovery knowledge
A final tip: eDiscovery is providing new career opportunities for paralegals. Legal organizations look to these professionals to assume leadership roles in document collection, review and production, according to the Robert Half Legal Future Law Office report, Technology Reshapes the Legal Support Profession. Knowledge of technology tools in this area as well as legal project management experience are quickly becoming must-haves for almost any paralegal today. By working with job recruiters at a staffing firm committed to providing skilled talent for eDiscovery projects, you can gain valuable exposure to this type of work.