The Most They Can Possibly Get for the Least They Can Possibly Do

Paralegal Gateway’s post, Paralegals Beware: Storefront Legal Organizations
speaks to a real problem for the paralegal profession,

These are basically businesses disguised as a non-profit. Why would someone go to the trouble you ask? Money!!! Paralegals and other legal professionals are big business and all you have to do is look at the many legal service providers that exist to realize just how big of a business our profession is. Paralegals specifically are either picking up the phone to call these providers or they are the gatekeepers to those who hold the purse strings. The people who run these storefront associations usually have experience within the legal industry and also realize how much money can be made from the same.

Additionally, in these economic times, these predators recognize that Paralegals and legal professionals are doing all that we can to stand out above the crowd and what better way to do that than with a long list of legal organizations padding our resume? I call them “predators” because that is exactly what they are and we need to attempt to think like they do to expose that they are.

I can’t claim much expertise with regard to store front legal organizations and cannot verify the accuracy of Paralegal Gateway’s statements, but I do see the potential as the profession grows of the profession being judged by the least professional of its members or even “pretenders” to the title of paralegal professional such as the predators described in that post.

Recently I did a post indicating that professional paralegals can help raise the low perception of the legal profession held by the public. In order to do so each paralegal must maintain the highest standards. In the end, professionalism is all about standards.

This reminded me of a comment made in a thread on South Carolina Trial Law Blog. I previously posted another comment from the thread under the heading “Paralegal-Attorney Communication” because the thread was about things paralegals would like their attorneys to know. However, this particular comment is more appropriately included here:

Someone also needs to address the need for quality paralegals and to stop the “get rich quick by becoming a paralegal in 3 days” mentality or the “get your paralegal certificate by taking our courses” when those courses do not establish the need for quality education to begin with.

Paralegals need to be able to spell correctly (or at least know how to use spell check) and have proper grammer. You will not get that with a “weekend paralegal course” and do not expect to make $40k starting the following Monday!

I had to laugh when I read the comment that stated “Trust me were good!” Um, no, you are not good if you cannot write correct sentences. That sentence should say, “Trust me, we’re good!”

I have hired and worked with numerous paralegals and I have generally found that the statement “they don’t know what they don’t know” sums up the lack of quality out there. There needs to be testing and licensing of paralegals just like attorneys and then maybe the attorneys could trust that “you’re good” and not feel the need to micromanage.

From a disgusted paralegal taking the attorney’s side on this subject!

Again, professionalism is all about standards. The profession cannot complain about the public’s perception of the profession if its members do not maintain the standard. The question is, though, how does the profession handle those “members” who do not or will not maintain those standards. Is regulation and licensing the answer as this comment suggests?

This is not, of course, a problem limited to the paralegal profession. As Todd Snyder has been telling us, it seems everyone wants the most they can possibly get for the least they can possibly do. (Sorry about the quality of the video. Todd’s a lot better than this suggests):

Chorus:
he wants that easy money
it’s sad but it’s true
everybody wants the most they can possibly get
for the least they could possibly do
they want that easy money
i don’t understand
if you sceem and you plan you can’t get your hands
on no easy money

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