paralegal

Areas of Law that Interest Me

The other day, I tweeted about what it took to be a paralegal:

1. Excellent Writing Skills (check – well, excellent in my own mind, I suppose).

2. Research Skills (I do have a knack for finding things, I must say).

3. Communication Skills (which I learned in college – in fact I was so successful in arguing FOR legalizing marijuana, my teacher had to ask me to insert “for medicinal purposes” just so I wouldn’t warp a bunch of young minds).

Shortly after I published my tweet, another person responded by adding to my list:

“One more: Ability to work with slime all day.”

Ouch.

My first thought was, well, I can’t publish my first thought, but my second thought was, “Gee. I hope I don’t end up working for a slimy lawyer.”

But then the argumentative part of my brain said, “Just what constitutes a slimy lawyer? Someone who chases ambulances? (Which is an ethics violation, by the way. I didn’t learn that from my paralegal class, but from the lawyer we retained after Kevin’s accident), or someone who is only after the big bucks and to hell with anyone who gets in the way?”

Lawyers are always given a bad rap, until you need one. And then? Thank God for them. Because without lawyers, our rights would be trampled and there would be nothing stopping people from taking advantage of each other. Yes. Of course. There are slimy lawyers out there, willing to do anything or work for anyone, just so they can buy that BMW, but I’m betting they’re the minority, not the majority, and I hope I end up working for someone who uses the law to help people, not use people for their own personal gains.

There are bad apples in every industry and I think it’s unfair to lump one group of people into one rotting cart. I want to pursue paralegalism because it interests me. And I think it would be challenging, not to mention sharpen my own writing skills.

And if I end up helping people along the way, that’s definitely a perk.

However, I’m not naive enough to think that that will always be the case. I’m sure there will be cases where I dislike the client, or I dislike the reasons the client is suing, or I don’t think the client is acting in a very ethical way, but we’re a nation of laws, someone has to uphold them. Someone has to represent the people, what I think really doesn’t matter.

I can’t really explain why I want to do this, it’s just something I’ve always wanted to try. And I reached a point in my life where I’m tired of talking about it, I’m ready to DO something about it.

I finished lesson three tonight (I’m now three lessons behind, though two more lessons will be assigned on Wednesday and Friday – I WILL get caught up!!), and part of the lesson was to list the specialized areas of law that might interest us.

Here is what I wrote:

  • Banking Law (I have experience in banking and I hope that would give me an edge if I pursued that specialty – also, I find it interesting).
  • Bankruptcy Law (I have very strong feelings about bankruptcy, ones that I would find it difficult to keep to myself, which appeals to me – the challenge of handling the whole issue).
  • Though I think Corporate Law would be challenging, I’m not willing to work that many hours or travel across the country in order to work the field.
  • Criminal Law would be EXCITING. And SCARING. But EXCITING. I’m not sure I’m tough enough to handle the details required for this field. But I would be tempted.
  • Family Law – definitely.
  • Judicial Administration – first-hand look at how the courts function.
  • ** Law Office Administration – I have management experience as well, so combining the challenge of managing people with the challenge of this field would be exhilarating, I think.
  • Litigation (Civil)

The one that really floats my boat is: Law Office Administration.

The legal administrator manages the planning, marketing (ugh), and business functions, as well as the overall operations of a law office.

I’m not sure why this sector appeals to me so much, maybe it’s my need to control everything (and I work great under pressure, not to mention, I sort of thrive on juggling several balls at once), but it just sounds fun to me.

That probably says a lot about my personality, I bet.

Close seconds? Family Law and Judicial Administration.

Family Law deals with, well, family issues and I think specifically working to help children and abused women would be especially rewarding for me.

Judicial administration is:

Most courts have clerks to help with the administrative aspects of deciding cases. In addition, a few courts have paralegals that work for the court. they perform some of the functions of the administrative clerks, such as determining whether the parties have been properly notified of trial dates, checking filings and proposed orders from attorneys to determine whether anything appears inappropriate or premature, or obtaining additional information for a judge.

It would be like being a fly on the wall – I think I would enjoy that, actually.

Okay fine, I would pretty much enjoy all of the areas I’ve listed (though I’d wager Banking and Bankruptcy would require a bit more travel than I would like) – I just think the whole field is interesting. The thought of researching, writing, analyzing … I dig that stuff.

I’m not sure Kevin is taking this new pursuit seriously. I mean, it IS a lot to swallow, and I’m definitely biting off more than I can chew, but honestly? I want to try it.

I’m ready, and serious, about switching roles here. I’m more than ready to don a business suit and get back out into the working world; it’s been too long. And I know Kevin would love nothing more than to be a stay-at-home dad – cleaning house, cooking, working on his projects (because he’s always doing something).

I mean, why not? The man has worked his ass off for us for the past 20 some odd years. He deserves some down time. He deserves a stress-free environment for once.

He’s for the idea, but knowing him, it won’t last long. He’s already chomping on the bit and I’ve caught him looking at want ads quite a few times.

But we’ve both reached a point in our lives that we can do something different. This is what I want to try. Kevin hasn’t decided what he wants to do yet – he might go back to accounting, he might try something different. It’s totally his decision and I’ll support whatever he decides.

All I know is this: I’m going to try this and I hope I succeed at it.

paralegal

Study Till You Drop

Ugh.

My brain is t…t…tired.

I ended up studying ALL DAY today.

No really. I took a shower, read. Ate lunch, read. Dodged Direct TV technicians (they had to come back – some sort of sound issue on TV #2), studied. Picked up boys, studied. Fixed dinner (I boiled ravioli, heated up some spaghetti sauce *BOOM* dinner), finished lesson two and got my answers into the forum before it expired. (The teacher gives us two weeks to complete an assignment before the forum closes).

And yes, you read that correctly, I finished lesson TWO.

I’m about four lessons behind now.

*SIGH*

You know, it never fails. I purposefully scheduled this class to start in the middle of September because I thought my regular work would slow down and I’d have the time.

Well, my work slowed down (sort of, one high school emailed their syllabi to me which was no less than 40 emails with about ten attachments a piece, and I so wish I were kidding), but we got a wild hair up our butts and decided to rip the carpets out of our living/dining room and put in hardwood floors. Kevin also decided that it was time we simplified our lives RIGHT NOW, so we spent a good two weeks going through junk and having a garage sale that I think was successful, overall. (We did put out a bunch of junk today for the Disabled Veteran’s of America to pick up, which really helped clean out our garage – Kevin can finally park his truck in the garage again.)

Not to mention, the excitement of running ALL over town to try and find cool pieces to decorate our new rooms with.

(I know, WAH. In fact, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond today to buy a pumpkin-scented Yankee candle and while there, saw some pillows that would be perfect for our sofas – also? A shower curtain, which distracted me enough that now I think I want to redo our bathroom, too. Just a new paint job and artwork, nothing major).

I’m not complaining though, it’s been fun (actually, purging our junk, including our camper, was sort of therapeutic), I just wish it wasn’t happening right now.

October won’t be much better. Jazz has a competition scheduled every weekend this month (except for the very last weekend) and we are planning on driving to Tulsa next weekend to watch one of them, and there’s an overnight trip to St. Louis the weekend after that. In addition, I have another site to design, a NaNoWriMo project to outline, and the Fall library book sale is in a few weeks (which I absolutely want to go to so I can add some more books to my Amazon book store).

And let’s not forget this paralegal class. Which doesn’t sound like it? But really IS at the top of my priority list.

November will be even worse. Not only will the first class of this course be over (which means a final exam and there are five more courses to take before I complete it) and I’ll be starting the second course, I’ll also be busy writing my NaNoWriMo book (because there is no way I’m NOT doing NaNo this year), and it’s our turn to host Thanksgiving dinner for Kevin’s family this year, which means a thorough house cleaning and of course, baking.

And then December – CHRISTMAS and all that that entails. 😀

But you know? I’m okay with being this busy – it keeps me out of trouble. Truly. It’s when I get bored that I get myself into trouble.

But anyway, back to the paralegal course …

I was reading “Paralegal Career for Dummies” tonight, and was glad to read the following:

Ways to Train:

Certificate Program – If you’re interested in a paralegal career and have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any field … a certificate program is perfect for you.

The paralegal personality:

You need the ability to reason. (Are you getting me? I over analyze how much toilet paper to use – sorry, too much information?)

You need to be reliable. I’m like a bug on poo – once I clamp onto something, it takes the jaws of life to pry it from my death grip.

Your work should be thorough. If anything, I’ll OVER research just so I don’t get myself, or the attorney I’m working for, into trouble.

You must be trustworthy and discrete. It’s hard to convey just HOW trustworthy I am, but the discrete part? Uh oh, no blogging about the work stuff, I’m afraid. Sorry Charlie.

Paralegal know how:

Writing Skills – one of the most important skills for a paralegal is good writing ability, including a strong command of grammar and sentence structure.

Hello writing degree?!?

Research Skills – basic research skills are essential to a successful paralegal career. Just point me in the right direction, load me up on coffee and I’ll take up residence.

Communication Skills – paralegal positions require lots of contact with other people. Uh oh. Though that’s not an aspect I’m particularly excited about, trust me when I say, I’m like a chameleon, when I set my mind to it? I can get along with everybody – just don’t read my thoughts, mmkay?

So after reading all of this? I’m encouraged. And I feel good about this career challenge. I think I can do this. I KNOW I can do this.

I just hope I’m not too old to START it, you know?

P.S. I just went back and re-read this post and honestly? I don’t even remember writing it, like five minutes ago. I have a feeling there are going to be quite a few incoherent posts published in the next two months – please bear with me.

And send coffee. I’ll put in a good word for you if I ever see you in court.

*giggle*

Do paralegals giggle? I must research that.

(Hey man, I’m playing peek-a-boo with my blog. Follow me on Twitter, or keep track of my posts via RSS or email. Thanks for humoring me, dude).

paralegal

Class is in Session

Guess what started yesterday?

I signed onto the online classroom and got my first assignment.

Holy cow, there’s a lot of reading already! Which shouldn’t surprise me, I suppose, considering there are four textbooks for this class.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I think I was sort of thinking the first class would be a “hello! Introduce yourself” sort of class. Instead, we’re not only sprinting out of the starting gate right off the bat, the class is already half way around the track and here I am, just now arriving with my gym bag and still in my work clothes.

I didn’t get a chance to sign onto the classroom (I’m taking an online class through a vocational college, in case you’re just tuning in), until late last night and I was surprised to see several people had already completed the first assignment!

Don’t you hate overachievers? 😀

I feel woefully behind already, (I mentioned the class started yesterday, right??), and sort of in over my head. Though I read a bit last night, I was really too tired to retain a lot of it, the little that did sink in is, well, DETAILED! I mean, my reading comprehension is pretty decent, but holy brain overload, Batman, this is going to require a BIT more time than I had first thought.

Which is fine, I’m determined to see this new career choice to the end, but I’m going to have to do some major mental adjustments here.

Here’s the gist of what I’m studying right now:

The Evolution of the American Legal System

Welcome to the first lesson of the first course of the Paralegal Certificate Course. You should find this course to be enjoyable, challenging, and rewarding, as have thousands of students who have studied our curriculum since 1980. In this first lesson, you will learn about the foundations of our nation’s legal system. Your understanding of the derivations of our legal system is essential to your understanding of how our legal system works.

We will first consider how our legal system evolved, and you will understand the difference between a natural view of law and a secular view. You will understand why precedence is so important to our court system, and you will learn the structure of the American judicial system.

This is followed by four more online pages, as well as two sections out of chapter 6 from the book you see above AND suggested readings.

¡Ay, caramba!

Like I said, I’m up to the challenge, but I’m most likely going to have to make trips to the library just so I can get out of my comfort zone (i.e. house) and away from distractions (i.e. the Internet).

My next class is tomorrow, where more reading will be dumped upon me.

I’m not complaining, I’m really not, I’m just surprised that we’re setting the pace this early. But I’ll catch up and I’ll conquer this challenge because that’s what I do.

(And I have to prove to Kevin that this is not a waste of time and money. There’s that).