Job Title: Paralegal
Type of Company: I work for a large law firm in Raleigh.
Education: BA, Geography, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Paralegal Certificate, Meredith College
Previous Experience: I worked in the medical records department of University of North Carolina Hospitals, which helped in preparing me for a job in an office environment.
Job Tasks: I assist attorneys who represent corporate clients by drafting documents, working on transactions and maintaining company records. On any given day, I could be doing research, drafting a stock option agreement, preparing stock certificates, filing forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission or drafting written consents of the Board of Directors. Even after 13 years in this field, every day is different and I am always doing things that I have never done before. I keep and organize volumes of company records in my office and maintain spreadsheets of all of the stock and other securities that our companies issue from time to time. Sometimes, I am asked to create spreadsheets which allow me to use algebra, my favorite subject in school.
While I work for a team of lawyers, I am responsible for managing and prioritizing my own workload. A lot of multi-tasking is required but it makes my job exciting. If I am very busy, I have an administrative assistant who can help me with mailings, copy jobs and other tasks. I rarely travel except for an occasional trip to a client's office and almost never need to work overtime.
I am certified with the North Carolina state bar and am required to take 6 hours of continuing education every year which I easily accomplish by attending a one-day seminar.
I have a lot of direct client contact and get to meet a lot of interesting and smart people.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: What I like the best is working on large projects such as stock financings and mergers. These are big closings that have a beginning and an end and my role is to keep it all organized.
The worst part of my job is having to keep track of my time. Every quarter hour of my day has to be billed to whatever client that I am working on and it can sometimes be hard when you have a day that you are doing many different tasks.
Job Tips: The most important thing to remember if you want to be a paralegal is to determine what area of law you want to work in and talking to as many people as you can who work in that area. If you don't like adversarial situations, you want to stay away from litigation. If you want to go to court and prepare for trials, litigation might be the thing for you. Whatever field you choose, you should enjoy writing because you will have to do a lot of it!
Additional Thoughts: It is very important that a paralegal be organized and detail-oriented. I have found that my value lies in sweating the small stuff.
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