Paralegal Associations and The Secrets of Networking Success

Opportunities for every job search and career move ——

For paralegals looking for a job now, local paralegal associations provide a starting point to build relationships with other members of the profession.

The more contacts you have, the more people know you, the more opportunities you will have, not only in terms of finding your next position, but also in terms of having a sounding board and receiving input for your thinking and approach regarding your efforts.

For example, panel discussions organized by paralegal associations are a great way to network successfully.

First, it can give you ideas about what could be your next career move by learning about a new trend in law or the paralegal profession.

Second, it gives you a chance to meet with lawyers or paralegal managers face-to-face.

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Paralegals and Billable Hours Requirements

The financial well-being of a law firm depends to a great extent on how many billable hours are generated by the firm’s employees. Non-billable time ultimately cuts into the firm’s profits. Therefore, the more billable hours a paralegal generates, the better the chances to negotiate a higher salary. At least, that’s the plan!

—— Market Rates for Paralegals ——

The courts recognize the value of paralegal professional services.

In Missouri v. Jenkins,the United States Supreme Court held that in setting a reasonable attorney’s fee, a legal fee may include a charge for paralegal services at “market rates” rather than “actual cost” to the attorneys. With this decision, the Supreme Court recognized that our time and expertise are worth more than simply the salary that paralegals are paid.

How is this market rate determined? The market rate is the typical charge for a person of comparable education and experience performing a certain level of task in a specific area of law and geographic locale.

According to recent surveys, in 2011, the market rates for paralegals increased or remained the same, ranging from $135 an hour for a Paralegal Clerk up to a median of $245 for Paralegal Managers.

For more accurate local information, and to make sure that your law firm bills your time competitively, check with your local paralegal association to see if it conducts similar surveys.

—— Billing and Clerical Tasks ——

For the Supreme Court …

Read more here: The billable requirements for paralegals

A New and Free Newsletter for Paralegals, the Legaco Express is Born

The Legaco Express for Paralegals is a bi-monthly newsletter with useful tips to advance your career and background information about the paralegal profession.

Each issue contains the latest job ads for paralegals, a poll, and articles about:

  • professional issues with relevant background information and advice,
  • international destinations and their legal customs and habits,
  • tips on how to advance your career, and
  • selected reading regarding the opportunities and challenges faced by the paralegal community today.

You can learn more about it here:The Legaco Express for Paralegals