Being new to this forum, I was interested to read this thread that was revived. I was a paralegal for 18 years in medium and large firms. I also taught paralegal courses as an adjunct instructor at two local colleges. When I first started out, I was asked in interviews how many words a minute I could type (not many) and did I know shorthand (no! anad some of you may not even know what shorthand is). Those firms needed a secretary and that wasn't me. I never thought of it as "just a job". I've been fortunate to work with great attorneys and learn fundatmentals from them. Through my career (notice I didn't say "jobs"), I worked in a lot of different areas and gained experience in real estate, worker's compensation, personal injury, complex litigation, RICO actions, fraud cases and employment discrimination. I had all the stress that the attorneys had and put in plenty of overtime. I worked myself into a great niche and with the last firm I worked in, I prepared cases for mediation/arbitration and trial and put together the presenations that were used to present our case. I sat in ADR and trial and worked closely with the attorney and client. There were many times I was in the office or working when the attorney wasn't. So to say that a paralegal inevitably works less hours depends on the kind of work that s/he does. I worked with some who were strict 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and that was it. I was accepted to law school 10 years ago, but it wasn't the right time for me. (My brother was fighting cancer and in that period of time, I had my own severe health problems to deal with). Now is a good time for me and I'm headed to the Class of 2012. And you know what? All the years in my paralegal career have prepared me and will make me a better attorney. Because of the exposure I've gained, I know exactly what area of law I want to practice and what I don't, I know what to expect day-to-day, and I know how to treat a staff.
FYI interesting study ranking paralegal assistants as being a better job than an attorney or a federal judge!...Much is made of the fact that federal judges must make substantial financial sacrifices when they leave private law practice.But the editors of a new best jobs list believe it’s better to be a federal judge, and better still to be a paralegal assistant. ...The list puts annual income at $109, 207 for lawyers, at $152,027 for federal judges and at $46,155 for paralegals.
Here is how I would compare themA lawyer is to a paralegal As a pimp is to a hoe.