The Center for Legal Studies Blog

3 Ways New Paralegals Sell Themselves Short | The Center for Legal Studies

When students finish their education and enter the workforce as freshly minted paralegals, they experience a mixture of excitement and apprehension. They are eager to jump at the first opportunity they see, yet at the same time, are worried about how to measure up against competing applicants. After all, the other paralegals have years of experience, vast networks, and reputations in the field. One common outcome is that new paralegals end up selling themselves short; they underestimate their own skills and qualifications, which can significantly affect their career. Often, they only realize their mistake years down the line. How do you make sure that you get what you truly deserve? While every student is different, there are several mistakes that you need to avoid. Accepting the first job offer – New paralegals are often so thrilled at their first job offer that they immediately accept, not taking into account whether it is a good fit for them and their career plans. You should always get offers from multiple firms so that you can compare them. Other than the compensation, there are many things you have to look at. Is the firm a stable, established player in the industry? What career advancement opportunities are there? Can you handle the duties, responsibilities, and overall workload? What is the company culture like? Don’t be afraid to say no; it is easier to keep looking for a job than to leave one that you are unhappy with. Failing to negotiate – Firms will almost never offer the most they are willing to pay for your services right off the bat, so be confident and don’t be satisfied with a lowball offer. Applicants should never forget that this is the moment when they have the most room to negotiate their salary, as raises and promotions are typically much harder to secure. Of course, there are right and wrong ways to negotiate. Focus on the... Read more

Benefits of LNCs in Law Firms | The Center for Legal Studies

4 Things Legal Nurse Consultants Can Contribute in a Law Firm The journey to becoming a registered nurse is not a walk in the park. You have to study hard and learn a lot of medical terms, procedures, and protocols because your patients would trust you with their lives once you’re on the field. Even from the beginning, each step will be full of challenges, drama, and stress. This is the reason some of the RNs tend to look for other opportunities – somewhere they can still utilize their medical knowledge without too much burden. Surprisingly, there are opportunities for nurses in the legal industry. Despite being on opposite poles, they can use their abilities as a nurse in helping others with their legal concerns. The legal industry is developing into a more comprehensive and versatile business. Many firms are on the lookout for legal nurse consultants (LNC), who can help them win a huge medical malpractice case. Manage Medical Records Legal assistants are trained to organize records in general. But, LNCs are more capable of handling medical records than others because they encounter these documents on a daily basis as an RN. They can make better conclusions if there are discrepancies on the medical files or what exactly to look for in aiding cases. Provide Medical Information With LNCs’ experience in the medical field, searching for records and assisting with discoveries won’t be a difficult task. Lawyers may find this valuable because it gives them better opportunities to make solid claims and defenses. LNCs can tell attorneys which documents to look at in medical malpractice cases. Interpret Medical Documents A nurse’s unfamiliarity with dozens of words and abbreviations in the legal documents is the same dilemma lawyers have with medical files. Researching for these terms and understanding their contexts can take up a lot of time. That’s why the services of an LNC will definitely help make the... Read more

Legal Nurse Consultancy: Law Meets Medicine | Legal Studies

Legal Nurse Consultancy: Where Law Meets Medicine The constantly changing nature of the healthcare industry in recent years has caused many nurses to seek out alternative career options. Because of the nature of nursing, there is a huge number of other industries that can have a need for it. Law is one such field that, while some may not immediately realize, needs the proficiency of nurses. Let’s take a look at the benefits of having a career in legal nurse consultancy.   A Steady Income Many legal firms can use the help of qualified nurses. Often, legal cases of a medical nature may arise and law firms will need individuals knowledgeable in the matter. Depending on how much experience you have, you can earn a substantial amount because of the demand for it, as there aren’t too many nurses who explore this career path. Expanding Your Horizons By being a legal nurse consultant, you get to use your knowledge in a different setting. While most would want to stay in the medical field, this particular career path gives you the opportunity to put your proficiencies to use while expanding your horizon in a different field at the same time. You get to render services that others need and you also learn more about the intricacies of the law. A Different Avenue As medical professionals, most nurses hardly ever consider a career outside the clinical sense. This can cause saturation in the field and make nurses vying for jobs seek other alternatives. While law is indeed a different world altogether, it is still a venue where you can put your knowledge to good use. Becoming a legal nurse consultant will give you the best of both worlds as you expose yourself to different aspects of the medical and legal fields. It is certainly a career that not too many individuals consider yet is highly rewarding... Read more

Legal Writing for Paralegals: 3 Ways to Improve Your Writing

The written word is one of the most important tools for those in the legal profession. It used to be that this was a task done exclusively by attorneys, but more supervising attorneys are passing the job on to their paralegals. Mastering legal writing takes time and practice. Fortunately for you, we’ve gathered a few simple pieces of advice to help you with your legal writing skills. Know and Remember Your Audience Whether you are writing to a client, the court, your attorney, or another paralegal, write the documents according to the needs of your audience. For instance, you can use contractions when writing a research memorandum to your attorney. When writing to the court, however, it is best to avoid them. Isn’t, they’re, and would’ve are considered too informal in the court setting. Make an Outline Organized thought is the key to successful legal writing. Prepare an outline for your writing; use the appropriate format for your document. If you’re writing an appellate brief, your outline should follow the format of the brief, including the statement of facts, issues, and arguments. This kind of organized structure in your legal writing will help guide the reader through your text. Simply put, it promotes readability. Keep It Short and Simple—No Legalese Legal writing isn’t about using fancy phrases or complex words. It’s about simplifying the already complex ideas into short and simple phrases. Get rid of extra words, shorten the long sentences, and avoid redundancies. Every word you write should contribute to the message you intend to present. It’s important to avoid legalese or special legal phrases and jargon as well. These words only make the meaning of the message unclear, so use them only when necessary. Every excellent paralegal knows how to write well. Legal writing can be intimidating even for the most seasoned legal professional, but it doesn’t have to be. If you want to really write well,... Read more

How Paralegals Should Write a Resume | The Center for Legal Studies

Every student looking to become a paralegal should learn early on how to accomplish a resume. Getting a job in the legal industry is more than listing down the number of programs you have enrolled in; gaining employment takes personality, charisma, and convincing a firm that you are the perfect fit for their culture. The Resume There are four standard parts of a paralegal resume that condenses the relevant information about what an applicant brings to the table. These parts are Career Objective, Skills, Education, and Experience. Dividing the resume into distinct parts allows the applicant to bring attention to the area which they think should highlight what they can offer to a law firm. For now, we will be focusing on the first two parts – career objective and education – as these will be the greatest strengths of the new graduate resume. Career Objective This is important because it provides the abstract qualities any recruiter cannot gather without knowing the applicant personally. Qualities such as drive, ambition, and vision for the future are some of the qualifications law firms look for in applicants, which they cannot measure during the recruitment process. The Career Objective can give employers a peek at the kind of person they are dealing with, and whether they will like working that person. The best way to write this part is to start with a one-sentence description of the job you are seeking. Follow that up with no more than a paragraph of how you see reaching that objective, and either maintaining that objective or reaching for new ones. Education The key to writing this part is to list everything in a bullet list format. Unlike the career objective, education is all about the number of things the applicant has accomplished during their years in school. Some applicants have a tendency to list as many as they can; don’t fall into this trap. Only... Read more
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