« on: April 19, 2006, 05:29:29 PM »
ESQ now has a great, honest perspective. I'm a practicing lawyer in a mid-sized firm. I'm in a smaller firm and agree with all except, the support staff aren't neccesarily helpful and the boss doesn't allow much flexibility in the come and go. I was a paralegal for two years before going to law school, and a friend of mine still is, pulled in $109,000 last year. she worked long hours, but didn't have to. only the bigger firms in the bigger cities will pay that, but the plus is, as a paralegal you can start counting the extra money in the paycheck with each OT hour. also, paralegal doesn't bring the work home with them, you have more flexibility to say, 'i'm going on vacation', and during the work day you have a lot more fun because you don't exactly engage your mind doing bates stamping, copying, etc. the downside of that lifelong paralegal is, you never have control over who you work for whereas after you've been practicing awhile, you can decide you aren't working for the jerk client or jerk boss and go do it on your own (or from the start). and, a 60 year old attorney practicing is prestige, a 60 year old paralegal, not so much
another perspective. if you get into a I or II tier law school, you will probably get into a mid to large size firm with great benefits. if you go to a lower tier, you'll start out lower tier firm, or the solo guys who are difficult, and the benefits aren't so good because of size. if you are a good paralegal with smarts but not the money or lsat to go to a top tier school (the lower tier schools will throw more scholarship money your way if you have a top tier lsat), but don't care about the office, the prestige, or the choice of who to work for, then paralegal at a top firm is a good route. especially if you are beyond, say later 20's because you will be out of the job market for 3-4 years, and your first year or two will not be making big bucks. throw in the law school debt, and it'll take a good 6 years or more to recover from the law school debt to get back where you were as a paralegal pre-law school.
if you get into a top 20, no brainer, go! anything less, depends on what's important to you.