IBA: Practice Experience Tops Wish list when Recruiting for Paralegal Roles, Survey Reveals

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When it comes to hiring for paralegal positions, knowledge of a specific practice area is the most desirable attribute, according to 66 percent of lawyers interviewed recently by staffing firm Robert Half Legal. Technological proficiency ranked second with 13 percent of the survey response.

Lawyers were asked, “In a competitive job market, which one of the following attributes makes paralegals the most marketable?” Their responses:

Practice area expertise 66%

Technological proficiency 13%

Length of employment/tenure 7%

Associate or bachelor’s degree 7%

Paralegal certification or bar association accreditation. 4%

Other/don’t know 3%

 Total 100% 

“When hiring for paralegal roles, prior practice area expertise will bring a job seeker’s resume to the top of the stack, particularly if that experience is in a high-demand specialty such as bankruptcy or litigation,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “This is a market that favors specialists over generalists — job applicants should highlight the specific skills and expertise that make them the ideal fit for a specific job opening so that employers know they will hit the ground running if hired.”  

Volkert offers the following five tips for job seekers to improve their marketability:

Conduct a career assessment. List your actual accomplishments and current skills. Determine what may be holding you back from advancing professionally.

Fill in the gaps. What skills do you need to develop? Are your technical skills rusty? Is project management a weakness? Take classes or online courses to address these shortcomings.

Stay on the cutting edge. Enhance your potential value to prospective employers by regularly attending legal association conferences, networking events or seminars to stay abreast of developments in the field and also make new contacts.

Consider project or pro bono work. Gain exposure to a variety of law firms, corporations and practice areas by taking temporary assignments. Likewise, volunteering with nonprofit or legal aid organizations also can help you gain experience and expand your skill set. Joining the Indianapolis Bar Association as a paralegal members makes just such opportunities possible.

Tap others’ expertise. Mentors and other professional colleagues can help you identify any gaps in your skills or experience, make professional introductions, and may be able to provide job leads.•


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.