If you are working as a paralegal in a law office, corporate legal department, or some other business, how satisfied are you with your career?
An article at DailyReportOnline.com reports on a recent survey of over 200 paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries and others who work in legal offices in Georgia. Question topics included salary, education, compensation satisfaction, job duties, and happiness with the job.
More than half said they were compensated fairly for their work, and many felt their jobs were interesting. The survey also found, however, that among those who spend much of their workday performing clerical duties instead of the paralegal work they are trained for felt less satisfaction with their pay and their job in general. One of the people in this category was quoted as saying, “It’s frustrating at times. It feels sometimes like it was a waste of money and time to get that degree [paralegal certificate].”
In follow-up interviews, some respondents stated that their careers have been affected by the down economy, such as no raises in recent years and having to take on more duties due to downsizing.
One respondent who works as an international transactions paralegal said that there had been no downsizing at his company, speculating that it was because their area is a kind of niche business. He also stated, “When I entered the field, I was told that working in the legal field was recession-proof. I think that has changed.”
Indeed, many of those surveyed had been laid off. Some are having trouble finding work, and others have accepted jobs at lower salaries. Tougher competition for legal jobs may be partly due to recent law school graduates and out-of-work attorneys who are applying for jobs at levels they probably wouldn’t be considering in a better economy. In addition, because of the rumor that a paralegal career is recession-proof, many people have entered and graduated from certificate programs, causing the market for paralegal jobs to become saturated.
As a result, some people are deciding to become independent paralegals. The article quotes several people as saying how much happier they are working for themselves, even though it sometimes means making less money. They enjoy having flexible hours, being able to work at home if they wish, and having more autonomy.
In considering the advantages of having your own legal services business, keep in mind that the start-up costs are often lower than for other types of businesses. Also, having a “niche” business in the field can help attract more clients, increasing your opportunity to make a good living.
One great niche in the legal services field is divorce support. By joining the Divorce With Dignity Network, you will have much of the start-up work already done, get help with learning how to launch and run your business, be part of a nationally-recognized network, and have all the advantages and satisfaction that a successful independent legal career provides. Let us help you make your paralegal career a rewarding one as your own boss!