Posts Tagged ‘promotions’

Pew PR: Paralegal Promoted

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Many things have to come together for the paralegal profession to gain a solid identity. One area of which we are seeing more recently is law firms publicly recognizing the role and value of paralegals in their firms. The Pew Law Center in Phoenix, Arizona, clearly sees the value of a newly promoted paralegal, but also sees the PR value to the firm as well as the value of educating the public as to what a paralegal’s role is on the legal team. This lead-in from a recent PR release from The Pew Law Center illustrates the point: MESA, ARIZONA, February 21, 2011 — The Pew Law Center, PLLC has named Jane Cauthen lead paralegal for the firm’s Phoenix office. Cauthen, who has been with the Pew Law Center as a staff paralegal since 2009, works with the firm’s attorneys in assisting clients who are filing for bankruptcy in Arizona, including chapter 7 and chapter 11 bankruptcies, chapter 13 protection, foreclosures, car repossession, credit issues, tax problems and all issues involving Arizona bankruptcy law.

Cauthen is a native of Pima, Arizona and moved to Phoenix in 2003.

Lawrence “D” Pew Esq., managing bankruptcy attorney at the Pew Law Center, says Cauthen is a valuable member of the Phoenix office team.

“Her energy and dedication to her work earned Ms. Cauthen this promotion,” Pew said. “We are fortunate to have her as a member of our team.”

Cauthen’s responsibilities include research, drafting documents and legal reports, and assisting Pew’s bankruptcy and debt relief attorneys in trial preparation.

The legal profession in general, the paralegal portion of that profession,  the law firms publicly recognizing the value of paralegals in their firm and the public will all benefit from doing so. I look forward to more.

Feedback, Attitude and Control

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The Career Coach” at The New York Times deals this week with reacting when passed over for a promotion. Much of what is said, however, I advocate doing before regardless of promotion opportunities. That is to say, there should be good communication between the paralegal and attorney, including the paralegal specifically asking, with a positive attitude, for feedback as a normal part of the paralegal/attorneyrelationship. Here’s some of the what the article says:

What you want now is feedback, said Jane S. Goldner, a management consultant and author of “Driven to Success: A 10-Point Checkup for Achieving High Performance in Business.”

Asking why you didn’t get the promotion will only put your boss on the defensive. “It’s far more productive to ask what you need to do to be the best-qualified person next time,” she said.

Unfortunately, managers can be vague when it comes to this kind of feedback, so press for specifics. “If they say you need to work on communication skills, for example, ask what needs work — written communication, group communication, one-on-one? You need to know what to focus on,” Ms. Goldner said.

Convey your desire to learn what skills you need to develop, Mr. Beeson said. If possible, speak not only with your boss, but also with senior executives you work with.

“Ask them for examples of how you have fallen short,” he advised. “At the end of the meeting, ask what two things above all others would most build their confidence in your ability to succeed at a higher level. It is usually one or two things holding someone back, and you want to know what those two things are.”

Be aware of your body language during the meeting, Mr. Maurer said. Your boss is watching you to see how you are taking the information. “Don’t get defensive,” he said.

Q. How do you demonstrate to your boss and other senior executives that you are working to develop the skills necessary for a promotion?

A. After the meeting, send your boss an action plan that reiterates your discussion and the goals that have been set, and that tells your boss what you need from him or her in order to be successful — perhaps periodic meetings to assess performance, Ms. Dutra said. “Mangers love the fact that someone is saying ‘I need your help,’” she said.

Q. How do you manage your anger and frustration while working toward the next promotion opportunity?

A. Managing those feelings is vital, because negativity in the office can be a career killer, said Shawn Achor, a teaching fellow in psychology at Harvard and C.E.O. of Aspirant, a management consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass.

Mr. Achor studies the effects of positive and negative attitudes on job performance. He says that people who have a sour attitude begin to deconstruct their social support systems at work and lose their connection to co-workers. “Then they become the toxic person on the team,” he said.

A positive attitude, however, brings more intelligence to a task, allows you to see more possibilities and work longer and better with those around you, he said.

Instead of dwelling on the disappointment, he said, write down a list of the things that are outside your control, like the economy or office politics — and focus your energy and time on what you can control, like your performance.

This is all good advice and much of it is included in The Empowered Paralegal, but my position is that you need not, and should not, wait for disappointment to occur before you

Obtain feedback

Ask what you need to do to do your job the best it can be done

Request specifics so you know what deserves your focus.

Convey your desire to learn what skills you need to develop.

Are aware of your body language at all times.

Set periodic meetings to assess performance,  saying ‘I need your help.’

Manage your anger and frustration because negativity in the office can be a career killer.

Have a positive attitude.

Write down a list of the things that are outside your control, like the economy or office politics — and focus your energy and time on what you can control, like your performance.

The keys are communication (in this case not only feedback but communicating your needs), a positive attitude and control. These are all part of taking charge of your career. As noted in a previous post here Chere Estrin of the Estrin Report and Know: The Magazine for Paralegals in her article on entitled “In Search of the Rest of Your Career” states

I am emphasizing career-changing rather than changing careers. This means taking charge of your present career and changing it around to best suit your needs rather than switching careers all together.

Take charge of your career on a daily basis. Don’t wait for a promotion opportunity or other event. If you take charge now, you will be the best person for the job when the promotion opportunity arises.