Paralegals who are seeking more freedom and independence may want to consider an alternative paralegal career – becoming an Independent Paralegal (IP). Whereas a paralegal works soley under the supervision of a lawyer, an IP provides legal document services to the public, independent of attorney supervision. IPs are experienced with the court system and know how to help clients fill out the paperwork correctly and file those legal documents (such as uncontested divorce forms, deeds, wills, and probate) with the courts. If clients know what they want and how they want to proceed, they will benefit greatly from working with an IP instead of an attorney, saving both time and money.
The Independent Paralegal career is a fairly new profession, one that has been previously frowned upon by the legal community and not yet widely accepted. However, it is gaining momentum and more acceptance due to the public’s demand for affordable amicable divorce alternatives.
There are so many advantages to being an Independent Paralegal. It’s wonderful to have your own business and attain personal and financial freedom. It’s difficult these days to get a well-paying job as a paralegal, so this is a great alternative. If you enjoy paralegal work but are tired of office politics, and are willing to work hard to build your business, this could be an excellent choice for you.
So how does a paralegal become an IP? Since this is such a new career, there are no nation-wide standards; requirements vary from state to state. As of now, there are only three states that have specific requirements – California, Washington, and Arizona. These are the states that are opening doors and establishing standards, leading the way for other states to do the same. In California, you would become registered and bonded as a Legal Document Assistant. In Washington, independent paralegals are called Legal Technicians, and in Arizona they are known as Legal Document Preparers. Taking California as an example, the requirements differ depending on whether or not you have a paralegal degree. If so, then you just need to get registered and bonded. If not, then you have to work for an attorney for 1-2 years, depending on whether or not you have a four-year college degree.
In addition to the legal requirements, you also have to have the entrepreneur spirit and be willing to take a risk. You will be responsible for finding your own clients, and for keeping track of all the details of the day-to-day operations. Knowing how to set up and run an office and a business is critical.
My decision to become an Independent Paralegal and create Divorce With Dignity drastically changed my life. I never wanted to be a paralegal working for an attorney – I always wanted my freedom. I have found that freedom, both financially and personally. And at the same time, I find fulfillment in being able to help people through peaceful divorce without litigation, making the whole process for them easier, quicker, cheaper, and less stressful.
Are you thinking of becoming an Independent Paralegal? I invite you to consider having your own IP business focused on amicable divorces. It’s a satisfying career if you enjoy helping people through the difficulties and challenges of divorce in the most peaceful, holistic, and cost-effective way possible. Divorce With Dignity clients really appreciate the value we provide to them. And as a member of the Divorce With Dignity Network, you will receive personal one-on-one training on how to set up and run a divorce legal services business, based on my proven system of success. You will also be given training in how to get clients, client referrals from our consumer website, and on-going coaching and support.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Divorce With Dignity affiliate owner, take a tour of our website and discover if this is your new career!
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.