May 21st, 2013
You have a small law office or a solo practice. To keep expenses down, you do most everything yourself. Technology and outsourced services take care of the phones, scheduling, billing and collections, and the like. Sooner or later, as the practice grows, you’ll need to hire support staff. The question is: Do you hire an administrative assistant with legal experience, or a paralegal who can also help with the office work?
“Take an honest and objective look at the actual daily rate of productivity and production output from your law practice,” advises Prof. Annie G. Reed. A lawyer, she taught in a paralegal program at a junior college in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »
April 28th, 2013
One of the most common — maybe even universal — skills requested of paralegals and law office administrative assistants is “excellent communication skills.” That’s probably true as well for admin staff in every occupation, but attorney Bryan Garner says the need is so much greater in law offices because, he explains, his colleagues suffer from Dunning-Kruger. Neither a disease nor a genetic disorder, it’s the notion among unskillful or unknowledgeable people that they believe themselves to be so much better than they really are. “Lawyers on the whole don’t write well,” says Garner, “and have no clue that they don’t write well.” Now you know why law office managers spend so much energy looking for support staff who know why “herein” should be struck from nearly every document they review. ABAJournal
March 28th, 2013
Does your firm need a paralegal or a legal assistant? Be careful how you answer that. Even though the ABA and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALS) says the titles are interchangeable, there’s enough confusion that you could find yourself wading through a stack of resumes from great people applying for the opposite job you need done.
A blog post by a paralegal turned freelance writer sets the debate:”Paralegals have long tried to make a professional distinction from legal secretaries, and some believe that any title with the word “assistant” in it has clerical implications.”
Those on the sidelines of the debate, tend toward the clerical / practitioner distinction. Read the rest of this entry »
March 18th, 2013
Seven occupations accounted for more than 400,000 job postings last month, about one-sixth of all the new jobs that went online in February. These occupations, ranging from accountant to paralegal, are also those that will be among the fastest growing between now and the end of the decade.
The number of jobs for accountants will grow by 16%, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The need for paralegals will grow 16%. But the bigger winner will be medical assistants, where demand will increase a whopping 31%, or 163,000 new jobs .
Rounding out the seven are: Read the rest of this entry »
February 22nd, 2013
When it comes to news, advice, career help, and more, lawyers have it made. Every city of size has at least one legal publication, some of them only online, others still being printed. Every bar association, legal society, every major (and many regional) law firms, and hundreds of bloggers produce newsletters, articles, and other commentary by the truckload.
Alas, for the legal support professional, such resources are far scarcer. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the National Association of Legal Assistants are the leading nationwide organization offering training, certification, resources and the like for paralegals. Despite NALA’s name, it’s really for paralegals and those who do a paralegal’s job. There’s also the smaller American Alliance of Paralegals. Read the rest of this entry »
January 8th, 2013
Of the nation’s largest law firms, only a handful have promoted women to top leadership roles. Barely 20% of the firms on The American Lawyer’s top 100 list have more than two women on their chief governing committee; 42% have only a single woman serving on the committee. The relative dearth of women in these top roles is striking,” says The American Lawery. “As one female partner at an Am Law 100 firm put it bluntly: “Women are largely getting stuck in lower middle management. There is still a moat around the top management, and that keeps the power to a small group of men.” The American Lawyer
November 27th, 2012
Law school admissions testing fell last month for the ninth consecutive time, pushing down the number of October test-takers by 16.4% from October 2011.
The October test is the busiest one of the four administered annually by the Law School Admission Council. Last month’s 37,780 law school hopefuls was the smallest number of October testers since October 1999.
As fewer people consider the law as a career, law schools too have begun making adjustments. A survey says 51% have cut their incoming class size, and further changes may be coming. With fewer newly minted lawyers coming out of law schools in the future, there’s likely to be a greater need for legal assistants and paralegals to should the load. Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2012
Are big law firms doomed to extinction? That’s become an increasingly popular question after the failure of Dewey & LeBoeuf and the troubled dissolution and bankruptcy of Howrey LLP.
In a conversation with Bloomberg Law, law firm consultant Bruce MacEwen said some of the biggest firms are luring new business with hourly rates so low he described them as “suicide prices.” The problem with that is it creates an expectation among clients that these lowball rates are the new rates. Just like department stores have done with their customers, he says, clients are being trained to shop the discounts. That will only lead to the same fate the retail industry has suffered, mergers, bankruptcies, and a cycle of layoffs. Read the rest of this entry »
August 9th, 2012
Who’s the number one law firm in the nation? Hughes Hubbard & Reed is and for the second year in a row, says The American Lawyer.
In its annual survey of the major U.S. firms, the magazine ranked Hughes Hubbard just ahead of Paul Hastings, on the strength of its revenue per lawyer and the firm’s diversity score. Third on the 20-firm ranking was Munger, Tolles & Olson, which made the top three for its sixth year. Read the rest of this entry »
July 28th, 2012
The smallest law firms and the largest firms saw little revenue growth in the first part of the year. Citibank reports that, “revenue growth was strong for Am Law 51–100 firms and firms outside The Am Law 200, (however) Am Law 1–50 and Second Hundred firms saw virtually no growth. Overall, in the first quarter of the year, demand for legal services grew 1.5%, at least reversing the decline in the 2011 fourth quarter. But expenses grew and average of 5.9%. Law People