The biggest mistake potential paralegals can make is assuming that their workload will depend on each type of case. The legal process remains the same, regardless of the case, not including your duties with the attorney you’re assisting.
This is timely and relevant due to the recent exposé of a paralegal who forged judges’ signatures because of his overloaded work schedule. It’s one thing that it’s completely illegal, it’s another to answer the questions that will inevitably arise from this deception: were they able to control a case’s resolution because of the forged signature? Have insurance companies been defrauded?
Establishing your credentials as a paralegal is a different thing than knowing how to handle your workload. Online paralegal degrees tackle many things, but work management is something you have to learn yourself. Since you’ll be studying, it’s good to form habits that will help you be in control of your work.
From Screen to Paper
Everything an attorney handle goes through you, the paralegal, and that means email and document overload. One of the most effective techniques is assigning time blocks, which means reading up on emails at certain times. It’s important that you establish a good start each day, but there will always be new emails; it’s better to develop a routine than winging it.
Document management is also critical because you will be dealing with a lot of paperwork. Your station should be in order because it is the first thing you see. If it’s all papers and no organization, misplacing documents is a real risk. If you compartmentalize case files, however, you know where everything is, desk or otherwise.
If all these seem trivial, just look at what overworking did to a paralegal. This is a risk to law firms because it will demean its reputation, not to mention that judges will not take lightly to being defrauded. It’s a heavy thing to put on paralegals, but everyone in the legal sector must work honestly. You got your work cut out for you, so it’s best to prepare for it.
There’s a lot to being a paralegal, and it’s a good foundational value to be honest. It will reflect on your actions and transparency will make you more trustworthy to lawyers.