Application Guidelines – Legal Assistants/Paralegals
Published May 15, 2019
The Roles of Legal Administrative Assistant and Paralegal
At Patterson Law we employ both Legal Administrative Assistants and Paralegals. A Legal Administrative Assistant generally works with one to three lawyers in an administrative capacity, while a Paralegal supports a group of lawyers in a specific practice area (i.e. Corporate, Litigation, Property). By working in conjunction with a lawyer, Paralegals can help keep legal costs down for clients, since they perform routine legal tasks on behalf of a lawyer at a less expensive rate. Due to our teamwork approach, the tasks of legal assistants and paralegals are sometimes interchangeable. Generally paralegals are legal assistants who have many years of experience and have worked their way into a paralegal role in the firm. Paralegals bill their time.
You should give considerable attention to your application package. This is often our first impression of you. Your application package should include a cover letter, your resume, and references. To represent yourself at your professional best, please remember these tips:
- It’s a good idea to personalize your letter to the firm. If you do so, however, please make sure you have addressed us correctly throughout your letter. It is disappointing to receive a letter addressed to another firm, or addressed to us but applying for a position elsewhere.
- Sell the strengths and experiences you have gleaned from prior jobs, whether that’s as a server in a restaurant, working retail or whatever you’ve done. Many of those skills transfer to being a paralegal. Even though you don’t have paralegal experience, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have any valuable experience.
- Tell us why you want to work with us at Patterson Law. If you’ve met members of our firm, please let us know. If our reputation in a particular area has drawn you to us, let us know that too.
- Proofread your letter, your resume, and any communication you send to us. Remember that you are providing us with a writing sample and mistakes will be noticed. Have someone else review your letter and resume for spelling and typographical errors before you sign them and send them to us.
- Provide us with several means of communicating with you. Include your mailing address, email, home phone, cell phone, etc. We often communicate by email, so this is a good time to rethink your personal email address – if your current address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you may want to create a new address to begin your professional career.
For a successful interview, keep the following tips in mind:
- Be yourself. If you try to alter your personality to fit what you think we’re looking for, that will probably show in the interview. We want you to be relaxed, honest and forthcoming about why you are interviewing with us. It serves us both well to get to know each other to see if our goals and values are a good match. Staying true to yourself goes a long way toward finding a happy, long-term career fit.
- Maintain a professional demeanor. Your clothing, your handshake, your eye contact, and your speech should reflect how you intend to handle yourself in professional situations.
- Be prepared. Ask questions about the firm. Be confident in your own goals so you will be comfortable answering questions about your own interests, values and expectations.
- Follow up. Let us know if you liked us and are interested in talking further. During an interview you should feel free to ask any questions which are important to you. We understand the need to balance work and life, and want to ensure you are as comfortable with us as we are with you.
For more information about these roles, or to inquire about a possible career with Patterson Law, please contact email@example.com