Lawyers lead an intensely hectic professional life. While many lawyers love to do all the hard work involved in setting up a case singlehandedly, it is not an intelligent or profitable way to practice. Hiring paralegal associates and legal secretaries are the right way to go.
Capable paralegals can offer comprehensive support allowing lawyers to focus on the critical aspects of their business. They have the knowledge and experience to assist with substantive legal work such as legal research, document drafting, handling client communications, etc.
So, how does one hire a legal secretary or paralegal for their law firm? Let’s find out.
Get a good idea about the different types of paralegals
The role of a paralegal varies from firm to firm. Professional paralegals are versatile enough to handle different kinds of responsibilities, so it is best to search for different types and hire paralegals as per your requirements.
Some of the most common paralegal categories are:
- Practice area à Many paralegals focus on a specific area of law. Their experience makes them familiar with the intricacies of a certain type of case that a firm might handle.
- Specialists à They offer support and assistance to lawyers and even judges.
- Generalist Paralegals à Generalist can perform a wide variety of tasks for a law firm.
- Freelance Paralegals à While they do not operate full-time, they can help ease the workload as necessary.
- Virtual Paralegal à Remote paralegal professionals who can help as needed, are much more flexible and can take on a variety of tasks with ease.
Determine the type of paralegal you need
A firm or professional needs to understand why they need a paralegal and what they expect from him or her.
Take a close look at the different types of paralegals, as mentioned above. Think of the tasks and responsibilities which you intend to delegate to them and then set out to hire accordingly. Are you looking for a novice with more recent training or an experienced professional? Do you need a specialist or a generalist?
Think hard before hiring.
Share a Job Posting
Once you have decided upon the type and responsibilities of your paralegal, draft a job description and then publish it on online & offline job forums.
- Be clear about your requirements.
- Explain the application process simply and lucidly.
- Post on job boards where there’s a higher chance of finding the right candidate.
- Search for viable candidates in your professional networks and reputed paralegal staffing agency.
Sift through the list and hire the best
Go through the list of potential candidates and select the one who fits your specific criteria. Apart from that, remember to find out their experience level, personal and professional credentials, nature of certification such as Certificate of Completion, Paralegal; Certification, etc.
Keep in mind that under a lawyer’s supervision, a paralegal can do any task that lawyers can, except ones that are specifically prohibited by law. Know what roles and responsibilities you intend to hand over to them and hire skilled professionals capable of handling them.
Paralegals cannot practice law, represent a client in a court of law, set legal advisory fees, or offer any legal advice. Know the exact parameters of a paralegal’s job scope as per a state’s laws before hiring one.
Conduct A Phone Interview Before Setting Up A Meet
A telephonic interview can help narrow down the list further by helping you learn more about a person’s experience, qualification, speaking demeanor, and get a better sense of their goals. Set up a face-to-face meet with a preferred candidate during the telephonic round itself.
During one-on-one interviews,
- Be prepared with a proper set of queries and questions,
- Organize a schedule so that it is possible to conduct multiple interviews in close succession,
- Ask candidates for writing sample to assess their skill level, seek proof of certification, and
- Choose an individual with an influential personality, who’s capable of interacting smoothly with your clients.
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