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Lunafreya

Thinking of becoming a paralegal

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Lunafreya

So I’m looking at job prospects for my future. I’d like something that’s more than just day to day

So I’m thinking of doing Cert IV legal studies at TAFE. As I’m on Jobseeker I can get a few discount 

I think this is something I’d like. I have a good memory and attention to detail. I like getting my teeth stuck into a task that means I need to concentrate. And I like writing and researching, got arts degree in history and English and diploma in library 

What do people think? Is it worth going into? What is the profession like.

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born.a.girl

Just check you can get the lower subsidised TAFE rates given you already have a higher qualification.  I don't mean the HCC rates, but the reduced rate that anyone for whom it's their highest qualification can get.

Don't know if it's the same in NSW as Vic though.

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Lunafreya

I’ve asked for enquiries about the course esp fees

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lozoodle

Paralegal work is ok I do a bit of it but my boss always jokes he'll give me a pay reduction if I keep it up... in Short, you'll earn more as a legal secretary / wp operator. Paralegal is a good stepping stone if you were wanting to pursue a legal career and possibly become a lawyer one day. 
 

then again one of my friends at work used to be a solicitor and dropped back to paralegal as she wasn't wanting the full on hours of a lawyer but still enjoyed some of the aspects of it. 

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caitiri
Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, born.a.girl said:

Just check you can get the lower subsidised TAFE rates given you already have a higher qualification.  I don't mean the HCC rates, but the reduced rate that anyone for whom it's their highest qualification can get.

Don't know if it's the same in NSW as Vic though.

In Vic you can access the free TAFE courses even if you have a higher qualification.  When you first read the guidelines though that’s not obvious. It put me off applying for ages thinking because I had a bachelor degree I wasn’t eligible.  
 

sorry a bit off the thread topic but just in case any Vic people ant to go back and retrain.

Edited by caitiri
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DQMission

Ive been a legal secretary and a paralegal. I thrived in both positions as I have an eye for details, can take initiative and think outside the box, which a lot of lawyers want in their support staff.

Paralegal work can be high pressure and not a lot of pay or recognition, but if you find it lights a spark in you, it can be rewarding for someone unwilling or unable to become a lawyer.

I will say that IME a lot of law firms and legal departments dont have a great culture (I know, a generalisation) and are not very accepting of diversity due to the strict time constraints of a lot of legal work.

Could you look into doing some volunteering or work experience with a local legal service (often universities and community service organisations have legal services that welcome volunteering)?

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born.a.girl
Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, caitiri said:

In Vic you can access the free TAFE courses even if you have a higher qualification.  When you first read the guidelines though that’s not obvious. It put me off applying for ages thinking because I had a bachelor degree I wasn’t eligible.  
 

sorry a bit off the thread topic but just in case any Vic people ant to go back and retrain.

Thanks for that clarification - I knew there were a few adjustments regarding Covid changes.

You're right that it's not obvious, in fact it looks as clear as day when you look at the info.  Thought I'd encourage my daughter to do some sort of business certificate.   How do you go about it?  Do you just go ahead and apply?

ETA: just looked and got the same answer for her again.  For anyone else in Vic reading, how did you get past that?

Quote

Based on your answer, you may be eligible for a government-subsidised place at either a Certificate IV level or higher, an Apprenticeship course or VCE or VCAL. You may also be eligible for a government-subsidised place in a Foundation Skills course, unless you are receiving equivalent training elsewhere.

 

Edited by born.a.girl

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Lunafreya
14 minutes ago, lozoodle said:

Paralegal work is ok I do a bit of it but my boss always jokes he'll give me a pay reduction if I keep it up... in Short, you'll earn more as a legal secretary / wp operator. Paralegal is a good stepping stone if you were wanting to pursue a legal career and possibly become a lawyer one day. 
 

then again one of my friends at work used to be a solicitor and dropped back to paralegal as she wasn't wanting the full on hours of a lawyer but still enjoyed some of the aspects of it. 

I’m not sure about becoming a lawyer. This seems more doable at this point in my life.

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caitiri
Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, born.a.girl said:

Thanks for that clarification - I knew there were a few adjustments regarding Covid changes.

You're right that it's not obvious, in fact it looks as clear as day when you look at the info.  Thought I'd encourage my daughter to do some sort of business certificate.   How do you go about it?  Do you just go ahead and apply?

Yep I just applied online they sent me an offer letter via email and voila I’m now a full time student panicking  about having to be in live online tutorials whilst simultaneously managing remote learning for 3 primary school children all silently because DH is working nightshift.  (Breathe.... breathe.....) 

 

but seriously she should,  worth noting my course doubled in enrolments because of covid so places might be hard to come by if she waits too long

Edited by caitiri
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No Drama Please

Law librarian (since you already have degree and library qualifications, might be worth looking into).

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~Jolly_F~
Posted (edited)

This is what I do, along with being a legal secretary and admin staff, I am the jack of all trades in my office 😂 Its aright but for me its a stepping stone until my degree is finished, I dont think I would be one forever. 

Most paralegals in my area are uni students who are working while they finish their degrees. It gives them experience and allows a firm to groom them into the solicitor they want. 

Its a high pressure job. You have to be able to move from one task to another without a lot of thought. You will be thrown into jobs with often little instructions and need to figure it out. 

You will often be time recording, which means accounting for every 6 minutes of your time and when time blows out you need to explain why. 

You need to be prepared to take on a sh*tstorm if you mess up because if you mess up because it can be bad, really bad and it costs the firm and the client. 

Nothing you learn in any course or degree (or legal tv shows, I do love them but nothing like a real firm)  prepares you for what working in a law firm is like. I think it would be worth you trying to get some volunteer work and see if it really lives up to what you imagine then make the decision about study. 

 

Edited by ~Jolly_F~
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lozoodle
10 minutes ago, No Drama Please said:

Law librarian (since you already have degree and library qualifications, might be worth looking into).

Actually yes I Agree this could be a good option!! Less pressure and not having stressed out people hassling you for stuff etc which isn't always fun. 

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Grrrumbles

I just don’t know that law firms would be considered an employer of choice for those with complex medical needs. 

Have you considered something in the data/technology space? Your attention to detail and writing ability may work well as a coder/tester or something to do with online services such as social media. 

Some large companies like banks have programs for entry level staff with a disability or other targeted groups. My employer has a program for people with Autism and it seems to be a really supportive environment.

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JRA
45 minutes ago, ~Jolly_F~ said:

This is what I do, along with being a legal secretary and admin staff, I am the jack of all trades in my office 😂 Its aright but for me its a stepping stone until my degree is finished, I dont think I would be one forever. 

Most paralegals in my area are uni students who are working while they finish their degrees. It gives them experience and allows a firm to groom them into the solicitor they want. 

Its a high pressure job. You have to be able to move from one task to another without a lot of thought. You will be thrown into jobs with often little instructions and need to figure it out. 

You will often be time recording, which means accounting for every 6 minutes of your time and when time blows out you need to explain why. 

You need to be prepared to take on a sh*tstorm if you mess up because if you mess up because it can be bad, really bad and it costs the firm and the client. 

Nothing you learn in any course or degree (or legal tv shows, I do love them but nothing like a real firm)  prepares you for what working in a law firm is like. I think it would be worth you trying to get some volunteer work and see if it really lives up to what you imagine then make the decision about study. 

 

Exactly

Law firms have a tough reputation for a reason, as has been said they are bloody tough.  I think it would be  a really tough call for you, but anything is possible.

Many of the issues you had in the last (?) job would be nothing  compared to what you would be dealing with every minute of the day in a law firm.

Good luck on your decision

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Gumbette
1 hour ago, lozoodle said:

then again one of my friends at work used to be a solicitor and dropped back to paralegal as she wasn't wanting the full on hours of a lawyer but still enjoyed some of the aspects of it. 

We have a friend who graduated with a BLaw as a mature aged student and is doing the same thing.  I think these are the type of people you will come up against, and as a PP said I don't think it pays particularly well either due to the competition.   I work as an executive assistant and earn roughly $40K a year more than he does, plus I get to log off (or go home when we were actually on site) at 4.30 pm every day.

 

 

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Silverstreak

Re working at law firms, honestly, it can be a bit of a toxic culture. Highly pressurised, long hours, looming deadlines, not particularly family friendly, lots of big egos. I am generalising, there are some nice boutique firms out there and so much of the culture flows from the boss / partners. But yeah, it wasn't for me and now I am happier as a public servant!

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Lunafreya

Maybe not such a good idea...

im just trying to find something 

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~Jolly_F~
Posted (edited)

I really think it would be worthwhile trying to volunteer before you write it off but it does often seem to be a lot of work for little pay off - money and otherwise. 

What about looking for work as a research assistant? That might fit into well with what you have described as your assets, you would work with a small team and have the time to really get into the research. You must have a reasonably good typing speed working in transcriptions, so thats a bonus. Just an idea. 

Edited by ~Jolly_F~
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lozoodle
35 minutes ago, Silverstreak said:

Re working at law firms, honestly, it can be a bit of a toxic culture. Highly pressurised, long hours, looming deadlines, not particularly family friendly, lots of big egos. I am generalising, there are some nice boutique firms out there and so much of the culture flows from the boss / partners. But yeah, it wasn't for me and now I am happier as a public servant!

It can be toxic, but it really depends on the firm. I've been with my current firm for over 14 years now and can honestly say that overall its been a really positive place for me. But I work in a bigger firm and I have a lot of great people in my immediate team. Some practice groups aren't so great of course, it all comes down to the people you are with and how you work with them, and also what kind of environment you like. Its fast paced and high pressure, but I also get to walk out the door at 2pm which I love (obviously not a lawyer or a paralegal haha and obviously not right now while WFH).  The small firm I worked at before it did suck though, I didn't enjoy that one bit. 

 

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Soho

If you are after a niche area to develop in and like detail and concentrating,  clinical coding might be worth looking into. 

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22Fruitmincepies
37 minutes ago, Soho said:

If you are after a niche area to develop in and like detail and concentrating,  clinical coding might be worth looking into. 

This looks interesting, thanks! 

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TigerQueenofSheeba
3 hours ago, Grrrumbles said:

I just don’t know that law firms would be considered an employer of choice for those with complex medical needs. 

Having worked in various law firms of all sizes and various industries, I would agree with this. 

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Chamomile
3 hours ago, Lunafreya said:

Maybe not such a good idea...

im just trying to find something 

Lunafreya, do you have an interest in the medical world? How about becoming a medical receptionist? 
There’s a lot to know about Medicare and private health funds, and you get to help people. 

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Ellie bean
Posted (edited)

LF you should try word processing in a law firm, no qualms needed. Best way in is temp work, apply to a few temp agencies. Could be a good way to get access to the culture and the work and see if you like it. We often hire good temps on a more permanent basis.

sorry I meant no qualifications, not no qualms!

Edited by Ellie bean
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QuirkyMum
On 30/07/2020 at 3:31 PM, Lunafreya said:

So I’m looking at job prospects for my future. I’d like something that’s more than just day to day

So I’m thinking of doing Cert IV legal studies at TAFE. As I’m on Jobseeker I can get a few discount 

I think this is something I’d like. I have a good memory and attention to detail. I like getting my teeth stuck into a task that means I need to concentrate. And I like writing and researching, got arts degree in history and English and diploma in library 

What do people think? Is it worth going into? What is the profession like.

Are you good with tech/computers?

 Analytical mind, attention to detail and ability to concentrate on a task - sounds like you were made for IT.

 You can start as a tester ( test analyst) but Business analyst jobs will offer more opportunities to research and analyse and write...

TAFE offers some IT courses but they certainly aren’t prerequisites to start applying to entry level positions.

Check these guys out: https://xceptional.io/job-seekers/

Edited by QuirkyMum
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