Paralegal Unhappy

I’ve noted that the searches that brought viewers to this blog recently included not only “sexy paralegal,” a search that appears to come up about twice a month, and “paralegal unhappy.” Although it is still without any legitimate basis, this blog still appears to be the first Google hit for “sexy paralegal,” but I did at least get an explanation for the reoccurring the search: there is a website selling “Sexy Paralegal Gifts, T-shirts,” etc. While none would be considered anything near outrageous, they are not suitable for professional wear or use. (This is not an endorsement of the website or the products sold there. I have no connection with the website and have not received anything from them in exchange for mentioning the website. I’ve never purchased anything from the website. I could go on about this, but you – and the FTC – have the general idea by now.) However,  I’d happily accept just about anything they offered me including a discount on “Empowered Paralegal” mugs, T-shirts, etc.)

I was pleased to see that this blog is no where near the top of a search for “paralegal unhappy.” In fact, it is so far down that I wondered who had time to go through all the higher hits to get to this one! It’s one of those searches that make one also wonder the story behind it, something I seldom get to know.

The search did bring me, however, to the Legal Support Personnel webpage on “Paralegals as Profit Centers: Are Utilizing Your Paralegals Effectively.” I don’t recall referencing this article on this blog before but I have on other occasions. It is pertinent now because it does proffer some indication of the primary reasons why paralegals are unhappy – a reason that coincides nicely with the premise behind The Empowered Paralegal:

In speaking with paralegals on a regular basis, we hear time and time again why they are unhappy in their current positions and what issues are most important to them. The common theme is that they seek challenging and interesting work, as well as professional respect and acknowledgement [sic] for exemplary job performance. Paralegals, like all career-minded professionals, crave challenge and increasing levels of responsibility. If you tap into these desires, not only will you provide your paralegals with a sense of accomplishment and motivation, you will reap the benefits of exceptional work product, as well as employee allegiance.

It also provides this insight (often not perceived by attorneys, although well-known by all professional paralegals):

Paralegals should play a key role in both private law firm and corporate legal teams. If utilized effectively, paralegals have proven to be invaluable players in the provision of legal services in a number of ways: in supporting attorneys in their daily functions; in acting as liaisons between attorneys and their clients, as well as the courts and governmental bodies; and in offering expertise in a number of practice areas in which they have received specialized training. If used successfully, from a pure economic standpoint, paralegals can offer cost savings to consumers of legal services and be true profit centers for your firm.
We have found that there tends to be misconceptions in the legal marketplace as to what paralegals can do. As a result, the uncertainty often leads to the under utilization of stellar talent.

I advocate a fairly direct approach to establishing the mutual respect and professionalism between attorneys and paralegals necessary for legal team to dance without tripping over each other. However, in some instances it might be helpful for an unhappy paralegal to start things off by printing off a copy of the full article and leaving it where their attorney can’t help but see it.

By the way, I know nothing at all about Legal Support Services, so this is in no way an endorsement of the company. You can draw your own conclusions after reading the article.

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