Friday, January 13, 2023
HomeParalegalDo not Work For Free as a Paralegal in These Key Areas

Do not Work For Free as a Paralegal in These Key Areas

Have you ever ever been requested to present a presentation to different paralegals or authorized assistants? You already know, a kind of CLE firms calls you or reaches out on LinkedIn and says we’d like to have you ever do a coaching session on a litigation or actual property matter.

On this article, I’m going to be speaking about 3 areas I see paralegals working free of charge that they shouldn’t be. As a result of let’s face it, our time is essentially the most worthwhile factor now we have, so don’t work free of charge.

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After I was a paralegal, I used to be requested to present a presentation a number of instances. I used to be honored. Wow! They need ME to current at this reside paralegal convention on trial preparations. It was an all-day CLE convention, and attendees paid $300 to attend it. They don’t pay the presenters, besides perhaps a $50 honorarium payment or one thing. However that’s okay, my employer supported it, so I used to be on the clock after I gave the presentation. However not for these 5 or 10 hours developing with the presentation and training it.

Quick ahead a few many years, and I get a name from a kind of firms asking if I’d prefer to current a 60-minute webinar on a litigation matter. I requested if he knew I used to be the proprietor of the Paralegal Boot Camp, a coaching firm that gives on-line programs for paralegals. He stated that was why he thought it could be an incredible match for me to current the webinar.

Out of curiosity, I requested how a lot they paid paralegals to current a 60-minute webinar.

He stated nothing as a result of paralegals do it as a result of they’ll put it on their resume.

As a former paralegal supervisor, I by no means made a single hiring resolution based mostly on whether or not or not a paralegal offered a CLE to an organization like this.

He additionally stated it will get your title on the market.

I laughed. My title is already on the market. So I requested, “Why on the planet would you assume I’d work free of charge in an effort to promote that webinar for $199 to paralegals?”

He lastly caught on that this was not going wherever.

After which it got here up once more lately with one other a kind of firms. They’ve constructed their complete enterprise mannequin counting on folks such as you and me working free of charge in order that they’ll cost others $199 for it and let you know that it’s good in your profession. When you plan to give up your paralegal profession and open a coaching firm, then certain, these displays would possibly turn out to be useful to indicate a possible future shopper that you understand how to do it. However in any other case, don’t work free of charge.

don't work for free

1. Don’t give away your data free of charge to a for-profit firm

Look, I’m not saying don’t ever do one thing like educate a program free of charge. However ask your self: Who’s going to profit essentially the most from this?

If it’s in your native paralegal affiliation or a nationwide one like NALA or NFPA, then sure. Completely. I do. At the least 5-6 instances per 12 months, I current reside coaching applications to a paralegal affiliation. Now, you would possibly say, “Wait a minute, Ann. You’re gifting away your time free of charge!” Sure, I’m. I’m giving it to a non-profit group that advantages its members – paralegals and paralegal college students. It’s not benefiting a for-profit firm that can take that one-hour presentation and put the cash of their pockets. Regardless of the paralegal affiliation expenses for it, that cash goes again into their affiliation to profit native paralegals.

That’s why I additionally don’t ever ask anybody to try this for the Paralegal Boot Camp free of charge. I educate all the Paralegal Boot Camp programs. I design them. I develop the content material for them. I educate them. If I ever had somebody who needed to develop a course that was a boot camp course on a subject I don’t educate, I’d pay them, or I’d give them a share of the income.

The truth is, our weblog has visitor weblog writers who’re fellow paralegals. They don’t write free of charge. Our visitor weblog writing program is about up in an effort to submit a proposed matter, we approve it or not, you write the article, and if it’s accredited for publication, you receives a commission. And that’s as a result of I don’t assume it is best to work free of charge.

Now, these weblog articles are learn by tens of 1000’s of paralegals each single month. In a single 12 months, it’s learn by greater than 100,000 folks! Different blogs would say, hey…write an article for us, and if it’s printed, you’ll get publicity to lots of of 1000’s of readers. Wow!

However what does that do in your paralegal profession? Is your employer going to present you a elevate since you received a weblog article printed on the Paralegal Boot Camp’s weblog? No. Is a few random lawyer going to learn that weblog article and attain out to you with a job provide? No.

So who advantages from you writing that weblog article? The paralegals studying it can profit from it. If it’s for the Paralegal Boot Camp, I profit from it as a result of it’s one much less article I’ve to jot down. And it’s often on subjects that I won’t in any other case write about, so I believe it provides large worth, and that’s why I pay our visitor weblog writers.

2. Keep away from Unpaid Internships

These will not be as frequent as they was once, which I’m joyful about. Now, you may be pondering, “Wait, Ann! Don’t say that. How can I get that coveted expertise that each employer is insisting on?”

Don’t get me mistaken. I believe internships are nice. Paid internships are nice. Not unpaid internships. It doesn’t even must be quite a lot of pay. It may very well be only a minimum-wage paid internship. However not an unpaid internship. Too a lot of people who I’ve seen are simply solo practitioners getting free labor.

Listed below are two causes to not do unpaid internships:

  1. At the same time as an intern with no expertise, you continue to deliver some worth to the group. Possibly you spend half your day shadowing a senior paralegal and the opposite half filling in for the receptionist at lunch and aiding others within the workplace.  In different phrases, you’re doing precise work for a part of the day. You’re not spending all day day by day getting coaching on the best way to be a paralegal.
  2. Regulation companies don’t deliver on their summer season associates as unpaid interns. The truth is, most of them pay them a month-to-month wage equal to what they’ll be making once they’re employed as a first-year affiliate. And I’ve seen what these summer season associates do relating to precise work.

Make sure to hearken to one in all our latest podcast episodes about the best way to flip your paralegal internship right into a job provide for some nice ideas!

don't work for free

3. Cease working off the clock

Please don’t do that. I hear this extra usually than you’d assume. And extra usually than I’d like to listen to.

I often hear it from somebody new or pretty new to their paralegal profession. Some issues are taking longer than you anticipated. Possibly somebody even informed you it’s taking you too lengthy otherwise you billed an excessive amount of time for a selected job or undertaking.

So that you repair that by clocking out at 5, however you keep to complete that undertaking, leaving at 6. However you retain that hour off the clock, in order that they don’t comprehend it took you so long as it did to finish that undertaking.

You’ll be able to’t repair the issue by protecting it up.

First, it can take you longer to do issues as a brand new paralegal. Nobody expects you to have the ability to do issues on the similar tempo as a senior paralegal who’s been there for 10 years.

The second purpose you don’t wish to work off the clock simply because it looks as if it’s taking you too lengthy to finish the undertaking is that perhaps the time estimate that the legal professional had in thoughts is mistaken. Possibly they’ve all the time assumed it ought to take one hour to do XYZ, however nobody has ever accomplished XYZ in a single hour, no matter their years of expertise. Somebody must know that. 

What if the workforce you’re engaged on is attempting to land this massive shopper, and to try this, they may tackle their work on a fixed-fee foundation? In different phrases, it doesn’t matter how lengthy you spend on one thing, the agency makes X {dollars}. Once they do this, they estimate every undertaking and job that can must be performed and the way lengthy it sometimes takes somebody to do it.

When you’ve solely ever billed 1 hour for one thing that takes 2 hours, however you’ve been off the clock for 1 of these 2 hours, the attorneys assume it takes 1 hour.

You could possibly even unknowingly be placing different folks in a foul place. What if it’s all the time taken everybody 2 hours, and somebody wants to know that? However they don’t, so when one other paralegal does that very same job and doesn’t work off the clock, they invoice 2 hours for it. Now somebody would possibly assume, properly, that paralegal is inefficient. When in actuality, it takes everybody 2 hours, they only assume it solely takes one hour.

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After we don’t work free of charge, we shield ourselves and others within the paralegal career. We assist these round us understand our worth and the efforts we put into issues are price extra. Your time is effective, and you need to be compensated for it.



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