Category: Wegman Partners

Wegman Partners On How to Become A Paralegal

Today, the paralegal field is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States. Recently, the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the number of paralegal and legal assistants is expected to grow by 15 percent before 2026, a much higher rate compared to other professions. For many years, Wegman Partners, one of the nation’s leading full-service legal recruiters, has helped thousands of law firms hire the most accomplished and professional paralegals in the US. Wegman Partners hopes to encourage those considering entering this dynamic field, and below, will provide the steps needed in order to obtain a position as a paralegal. 

Paralegal Educational Requirements 

There are no federal regulations in place for paralegals, and only a few states require applicants to have completed certain requirements. For this reason, most law firms will hire paralegals with at minimum an associate’s degree in paralegal studies; however, some law firms will ask that applicants possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in legal studies. 

Associates Degree: On average, it takes roughly two years to obtain an associate’s degree in paralegal studies. However, within the legal community, a growing number of employers require paralegals to possess a four-year degree. For this reason, Wegman Partners encourages those considering becoming a paralegal to look at paralegal programs at the bachelor level. 

Bachelor’s Degree: Receiving a bachelor’s degree in legal studies will allow applicants to apply for the majority of available paralegal positions. According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, law firms and legal employers are now predominantly looking for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a law-related field. 

Master’s Degree: Those who have already received a bachelor’s degree should consider continuing their education and entering a master’s program. A master’s degree in legal studies will allow applicants to study more complex legal topics such as intellectual property law, employment law, trial advocacy, and legal writing. With this additional experience, applicants are more likely to obtain a paralegal position at some of the top law firms in the country. 

Complete a Paralegal Certification (Recommended)

While most employers will only ask that applicants meet educational requirements, some employers also ask that applicants have received their paralegal certification. There are a number of different paralegal certifications available through different professional organizations; however, the most well-known certifications include the Professional Paralegal certification from NALS, and the Certified Paralegal certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Finally, applicants can also obtain the Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) certification, also from NALA.

Wegman Partners On Should Big Law Staff Have to Return to the Office Post-COVID

Although more office spaces have begun to open thanks to the growing number of vaccinated Americans, not all employees are eager to return to the office. Whether it be the reduced commute, concerns regarding health risks, or rusty social skills, many office workers are less than thrilled to give up their at-home offices. However, many companies have already begun to welcome workers back, with one study reporting 24.2 percent of employees have already returned to the office within the ten biggest cities in the United States.  For many law offices, returning workers to the office is a complex and challenging decision. Wegman Partners recognizes the complexity of this decision and hopes to aid the many law offices struggling to reach a resolution. Below, Wegman Partners will review the most common pros and cons of in-office and remote work. 

Increase in Productivity 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many managers were concerned that allowing employees to work remotely would drastically affect productivity. However, numerous studies that have been conducted during the pandemic have found that working remotely actually increases productivity. According to one study, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office counterparts or three additional weeks of work per year. One of the most effective ways for individuals to stay productive over long periods of time is to take frequent breaks throughout the day. As shown in the Pomodoro Technique, workers who take a moment to decompress and refocus are much more productive than their colleagues.

Issues with Communication 

For many companies, the most challenging aspect of remote work has been consistent communication. Many managers are worried that teams are not spending enough time communicating and that this may be negatively affecting team projects. According to a study performed by the Harvard Review, however, one of the most successful ways of human communication is through “bursts.” Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many law teams have started using burst communication, or periods of high communication followed by little to no communication. Research has shown that these periods of silence actually increase productivity and individual thinking among team members. By cutting down on unnecessary contact, team productivity can actually increase. 

Anxiety Over In-Office Environment 

According to a recent study published by the American Psychological Association, nearly 49 percent of working Americans feel anxious about returning to an in-person work environment once the pandemic ends. The study found that vaccination status did not affect this unease, as 48% of vaccinated participants said they too felt uncomfortable with in-person interactions. Experts believe this is primarily due to new strains of COVID-19 present in various countries and concerns over the COVID vaccine’s effectiveness past six months. For law office managers, this unease should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to have staff members return to the office full-time.

Wegman Partners on the Traits of an Exceptional Paralegal

Ask any attorney, and they will say that paralegals are the powerhouse of the law firm. A paralegal’s job can be complex, taxing, and often includes juggling more than a few tasks at once. With such a difficult position, finding someone who is both up to the job and a good fit for your team can be challenging. Luckily, Wegman Partners knows a thing or two about finding exceptional paralegals and the process of matching them to their perfect law-firm. During Wegman Partners more than fifteen years of business, Colby Wegman and his team have helped hundreds of firms find their ideal paralegal candidate by creating by pre-screening candidates and accepting only the most promising paralegals. Wegman Partners’ lawsuit paralegals are known internationally for their expertise and proficiency within the workplace. Below, Wegman Partners will discuss the traits they most look for in a paralegal candidate. 

Writing/ Editing Skills 

While law often emphasizes the importance of speech in the courtroom, within a law firm, writing is king. Documentation, research summarization, and the other everyday tasks of a paralegal require outstanding writing skills. Their writing cannot only parrot information but must convince the reader of a well-thought argument or concept. For this reason, when identifying a strong paralegal candidate, look for an English background or previous writing experience. 

Research Skills 

The process of locating information quickly and documenting it without error is essential to any legal team. Researching a subject, especially in the context of law, is a skill set that not all possess. However, research must come easy for a paralegal professional as many research assignments will be given with a time constraint.  

Organization and Time Management 

As touched on earlier, a paralegal is rarely afforded the time to focus exclusively on one task. They must instead juggle various cases with different task deadlines and prioritize certain aspects of a case above another’s. Keeping track of a large number of work requests is no easy feat; however, it is the first mark of a good paralegal. By asking candidates about any previous experience dealing with a high volume workload, you may better understand their ability to organize and manage their time. 

Team Player

There is a reason legal teams are referred to as teams. A paralegal candidate can excel in all fields mentioned previously; however, if a candidate isn’t personable, their attitude may affect the team. Paralegals spend a large amount of time paired with an attorney, and while this dynamic can accomplishes great things, they must be able to communicate and remain on good terms to excel at their jobs. 

Wegman Partners Discusses Traits of a Successful Law Firm

Wegman Partners knows from working with their vast client base that every law firm is looking to increase their amount of success and every lawyer is looking to join a firm built for sustained success. This can make one wonder what the criteria is of a successful and dynamic law firm. Today, Wegman Partners will begin breaking down the most important characteristics of a thriving law firm.

It is not a surprise to say the best law firms have driven lawyers who are committed to the success of their clients. However, when a firm is made up of single practices under one roof that do not actually interact, it can lead to in-fighting and unhealthy competition. Successful firms look to highlight their ability in a specialized area. It’s a lot tougher to compete as a general practice. Switching from a full-service mentality to a singular focus will also make marketing the firm that much easier.

A commitment to evolving is important for a law firm. Not only is it not okay to rest on the fact that the last case was successful, it is not advisable to allow technology at the firm to grow outdated. The best way to tract a firm’s commitment to evolving is to survey employees within the organization anonymously. Employees can provide feedback on the types of technological advancements that will help them do their jobs most effectively. Not only is internal feedback great, but it’s a great idea to get feedback from clients. There’s no greater marketing than word-of-mouth referrals.  Every successful firm is committed to the happiness of their client base. Even in a losing effort, how a client is treated will speak volumes in how they talk about the firm they acquired.

There’s an old saying that ‘iron sharpens iron.’ It is certainly true that being around great lawyers can make a lawyer better at their job. It’s also true that this idea only works if every lawyer within a firm is a team player. People need to be willing to share their ideas and remain committed to the success of every member of the law firm. Wegman Partners sees that most employees who are loyal to a firm are more willing to buy-in to a team mentality. Loyalty within a firm is earned through trust, respect and transparency from ownership. Getting lawyers to buy in to a vision is possible when they feel like they are part of said vision.