1) Please tell me something about yourself?
I am an outstanding chef.
2)How did you get to where you are today?
A significant amount of hard work and sacrifice.
3)Why did you choose to become a paralegal or lawyer? Why did you choose to specialize in this area of the law?
Having a legal education is very practical. I use my training on a daily basis, even outside of work. I wanted to have that knowledge so I could further the interests of myself and those close to me. I currently specialize in contract
law; I like it because it is more about law than facts, and that makes it more of a theory-based practice, which I enjoy.
4)What are the most important skills for a paralegal or lawyer?
Attention to detail, compassion for the client, and most importantly, a love for the work.
5)What role do legal ethics play in a legal career ?
People entrust you with their livelihood, freedom, and sometimes their lives. Performing your duties in an ethically sound manner is essential.
6)Is your work concentrated with a small group of clients?
Yes, I have one client for whom I work full time.
7)What tools and methods do you use for the day to day organization and planning of your work?
I have a legal assistant who handles a lot of the mechanical aspects of my organizational needs. I also keep a list of everything I must due and prioritize the items on that list.
8))What do you perceive is the future of paralegals in this economy?
I expect that paralegals will be relied upon more heavily as a low-cost alternative to attorney representation
, so I expect that consumers will have increasing contact with them in the future. However, right now, the prospects of employment for paralegals are utterly abysmal. If someone attends school to receive training as a paralegal, they should expect to not be employed as a paralegal when they finish.
9)How do you think the firm and its practice, or your department, will change in the next few years?
Probably not at all. My client is a large organization that I do not expect to culturally change in the next few years.
10)A crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it?
Previous to my present job, one of my clients was murdered by their spouse and kidnapped their child, fleeing out of state. I wasn't getting paid, but I helped the child's grandparents with the numerous legal issues that arose in the months thereafter.
11)A time in your career or job where you had to overcome stress?
Still working on it, but the work can be intense, so it is important to separate your personal life from the job. Eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, and forcing yourself to have time with family and to relax are essential if you hope to see your 50th birthday.
12)Is there anything you would have done differently in your career ?
I actually would have pursued pharmacy first, then attended law school if I felt up to it and taken the patent bar. I enjoy my work, but I think that I would have enjoyed that career path more.
13)What kind the best advice you could give about a career in the legal field ?
Stay out of it. As I mentioned, the job market for paralegals is atrocious right now, and it is not going to get better. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates average to below average growth in that field over the next decade, but that only tells part of the story because the number of people attempting to enter the field is extremely high. I would estimate that there is less than one new job for every 10 people graduating with formal paralegal training. It isn't much better for lawyers. There are 30,000 new law jobs created every year and 45,000 new attorneys admitted to the various bars. This means that even if you spend three years in law school and even if you pass the bar exam, the odds are 1 out of 3 that there will be no job for you. Tuition costs are extremely high and most people graduate with $150,000 in debt, while the median starting salary (again, if you are lucky enough to find work) is around $60,000, which means that if you find a job practicing law, there is a 50% chance that you will be making $60,000 or less per year. It's really a foolish pursuit right now--if you are sincere about wanting to enter the field, find work doing something else for now and wait until the market improves.
14)What you enjoy most about your job and why?
I enjoy helping people. It's very satisfying when you can solve a major problem.
I hope that this helps!