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Re: Would like to become a Paralegal or Legal Assistant-HELP!

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  • mensa58
    Shirley -- I also live and work in the DC area, and have been a paralegal for about 18 years. Paralegal and Legal Assistant are used differently at different
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 4, 2002
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      Shirley -- I also live and work in the DC area, and have been a
      paralegal for about 18 years.
      Paralegal and Legal Assistant are used differently at different
      firms. My former firm had Legal Assistant Clerk as the "lowest"
      level, then Legal Assistant, then Senior Legal Assistant. My current
      firm has Legal Assistant as the lowest level, then Paralegal, then
      Senior Paralegal or Specialist. My $.02 is that, if you're sending a
      letter or resume without responding to a *specific* advertised
      position, state you're looking for a position as a paralegal or legal
      assistant. That way you're covered no matter which title the firm
      uses. Also, for firms like mine that use both, you don't limit
      yourself.
      I can't answer the training question (I learned on the job) but I
      would imagine choice of school could make a difference.
      For training leads (and job leads, too) check out National Capital
      Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA). Sorry I don't know the URL but
      I'm sure you can find it easily using a search engine.
      Good luck!

      --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., "SAS" <shad_ricks@y...> wrote:
      > Hi to everyone! I currenlty live in DC and I want to become a
      Legal
      > Assistant or Paralegal. I get the impression that a few of you who
      > participate in this board may be in the legal profession. Can
      anyone
      > bring me up to date concerning working as a paralegal or legal
      > Assistant? Are these two positions the same? How long is the
      > training for each? Does becoming one require a 4 year degree or a
      > certificate? How do I go about looking for an institution that
      will
      > train me to become a legal assistant or paralegal? Depending on
      > which school I attend, will the school I choose to attend affect
      how
      > much money I can make?
      >
    • jgfwtx1
      Its never too late, my suggestion is just get the paralegal certificate but where your at now in salary, will you be willing to take a cut in pay because I
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 15, 2002
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        Its never too late, my suggestion is just get the paralegal
        certificate
        but where your at now in salary, will you be willing to take a cut in
        pay because I will be surprised if you will get a job making that to
        start.Maybe employment law or corporate law will be great for you
        with all your experience in hr and administration. yes they are the
        same for more info check out message 430 I believe it has a much
        broader and greater detail on the paralegal profession.




        --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., "SAS" <shad_ricks@y...> wrote:
        > Hi to everyone! I currenlty live in DC and I want to become a
        Legal
        > Assistant or Paralegal. I get the impression that a few of you who
        > participate in this board may be in the legal profession. Can
        anyone
        > bring me up to date concerning working as a paralegal or legal
        > Assistant? Are these two positions the same? How long is the
        > training for each? Does becoming one require a 4 year degree or a
        > certificate? How do I go about looking for an institution that
        will
        > train me to become a legal assistant or paralegal? Depending on
        > which school I attend, will the school I choose to attend affect
        how
        > much money I can make?
        >
        > I appreciate all the help I can get on this one. I'm currently a
        > Senior Exe Admin person at the $50k mark. I know that to increase
        my
        > salary I must move beyond just being an Admin person. I do like
        the
        > law field, but I do not want to become a lawyer. I enjoy
        conducting
        > research and supporting someone else. I have been in the Admin
        > field/HR field for 8 years now. I also have an undergrad degree in
        > HR Management. Is it too late for me to become a Paralegal or
        Legal
        > Assistant?
        >
        > Can't wait to hear responses. Thanks
        >
        > Shirley
      • mensa58
        ... You are VERY wrong with this statement. Employment law and Corporate law are NOT the same. I ve been a corporate paralegal for about 18 years; there are
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 19, 2002
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          --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., "jgfwtx1" <jgfwtx1@y...>
          wrote:
          >Maybe employment law or corporate law will be great for you
          > with all your experience in hr and administration. yes they are the
          > same

          You are VERY wrong with this statement. Employment law and Corporate
          law are NOT the same.
          I've been a corporate paralegal for about 18 years; there are several
          labor/employment paralegals in my current firm and there's no way
          that either of us could do the other's job or know the other's area
          of law.

          You are correct, though, in saying it's never too late to become a
          paralegal.

          Corporate law is very slow now, especially in the DC area.
          Labor/employment is busier so that may be a better place to begin
          looking for a position.
        • Donald Billings (Home Office)
          I agree - Corporate and employment law are very different. Corporate is currently slow all over. Most of the paralegal law offs in California have been in
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 19, 2002
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            I agree - Corporate and employment law are very different. Corporate is
            currently slow all over. Most of the paralegal law offs in California
            have been in the corporate departments.



            -----Original Message-----
            From: mensa58 [mailto:no_reply@yahoogroups.com]
            Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 6:54 AM
            To: allparalegalsnetworkingetc@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [All Paralegals Networking etc ] Re: Would like to become a
            Paralegal or Legal Assistant-HELP!



            --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., "jgfwtx1" <jgfwtx1@y...>
            wrote:
            >Maybe employment law or corporate law will be great for you
            > with all your experience in hr and administration. yes they are the
            > same

            You are VERY wrong with this statement. Employment law and Corporate
            law are NOT the same.
            I've been a corporate paralegal for about 18 years; there are several
            labor/employment paralegals in my current firm and there's no way
            that either of us could do the other's job or know the other's area
            of law.

            You are correct, though, in saying it's never too late to become a
            paralegal.

            Corporate law is very slow now, especially in the DC area.
            Labor/employment is busier so that may be a better place to begin
            looking for a position.








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          • J granado
            Guys that statement wasn t an answer about corporate law and employment law being the same I know they are quite different,that was an answer regarding whether
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 19, 2002
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              Guys that statement wasn't an answer about corporate law and employment law being the same I know they are quite different,that was an answer regarding whether a paralegal or legal assistant was the same. Sorry I didnt clarify but the person I was responding to had that as a question also.
              "Donald Billings (Home Office)" <admin@...> wrote:I agree - Corporate and employment law are very different. Corporate is
              currently slow all over. Most of the paralegal law offs in California
              have been in the corporate departments.



              -----Original Message-----
              From: mensa58 [mailto:no_reply@yahoogroups.com]
              Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 6:54 AM
              To: allparalegalsnetworkingetc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [All Paralegals Networking etc ] Re: Would like to become a
              Paralegal or Legal Assistant-HELP!



              --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., "jgfwtx1" <jgfwtx1@y...>
              wrote:
              >Maybe employment law or corporate law will be great for you
              > with all your experience in hr and administration. yes they are the
              > same

              You are VERY wrong with this statement. Employment law and Corporate
              law are NOT the same.
              I've been a corporate paralegal for about 18 years; there are several
              labor/employment paralegals in my current firm and there's no way
              that either of us could do the other's job or know the other's area
              of law.

              You are correct, though, in saying it's never too late to become a
              paralegal.

              Corporate law is very slow now, especially in the DC area.
              Labor/employment is busier so that may be a better place to begin
              looking for a position.








              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              allparalegalsnetworkingetc-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



              Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
              <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> Terms of Service.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • jgfwtx1
              Can anyone bring me up to date concerning working as a paralegal or legal Assistant? Are these two positions the same? this is what i answered are the titles
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 19, 2002
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                Can anyone
                bring me up to date concerning working as a paralegal or legal
                Assistant? Are these two positions the same? this is what i answered
                are the titles the same and yes they are just depends on what school
                or what type of position uses them but most schools now refer to it
                as paralegal/legal assistant.





                --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., J granado <jgfwtx1@y...>
                wrote:
                >
                > Guys that statement wasn't an answer about corporate law and
                employment law being the same I know they are quite different,that
                was an answer regarding whether a paralegal or legal assistant was
                the same. Sorry I didnt clarify but the person I was responding to
                had that as a question also.
                > "Donald Billings (Home Office)" <admin@l...> wrote:I agree -
                Corporate and employment law are very different. Corporate is
                > currently slow all over. Most of the paralegal law offs in
                California
                > have been in the corporate departments.
                >
                >
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: mensa58 [mailto:no_reply@y...]
                > Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2002 6:54 AM
                > To: allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y...
                > Subject: [All Paralegals Networking etc ] Re: Would like to become a
                > Paralegal or Legal Assistant-HELP!
                >
                >
                >
                > --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., "jgfwtx1" <jgfwtx1@y...>
                > wrote:
                > >Maybe employment law or corporate law will be great for you
                > > with all your experience in hr and administration. yes they are
                the
                > > same
                >
                > You are VERY wrong with this statement. Employment law and
                Corporate
                > law are NOT the same.
                > I've been a corporate paralegal for about 18 years; there are
                several
                > labor/employment paralegals in my current firm and there's no way
                > that either of us could do the other's job or know the other's area
                > of law.
                >
                > You are correct, though, in saying it's never too late to become a
                > paralegal.
                >
                > Corporate law is very slow now, especially in the DC area.
                > Labor/employment is busier so that may be a better place to begin
                > looking for a position.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > allparalegalsnetworkingetc-unsubscribe@y...
                >
                >
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
                > <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> Terms of Service.
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > allparalegalsnetworkingetc-unsubscribe@y...
                >
                >
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                Service.
                >
                >
                >
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              • mensa58
                Sorry, I still have to disagree with your statement in part, because paralegal and legal assistant are not necessarily the same. It s hard to figure out when
                Message 7 of 11 , Nov 19, 2002
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                  Sorry, I still have to disagree with your statement in part, because
                  paralegal and legal assistant are not necessarily the same. It's
                  hard to figure out when & where they differ, though. My position is
                  called "paralegal" at my current firm and "legal assistant" at my
                  former firm -- so there's a case where they ARE the same. At my
                  current firm, however, a "legal assistant" is more of an entry-level
                  position, not requiring any experience.



                  --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., J granado <jgfwtx1@y...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Guys that statement wasn't an answer about corporate law and
                  employment law being the same I know they are quite different,that
                  was an answer regarding whether a paralegal or legal assistant was
                  the same.
                • Marjorie
                  Shirley ... I can t talk to the salaries in the DC area ... but you are t likely to make significantly more $ as a paralegal. I suggest you go to www.nala.org
                  Message 8 of 11 , Nov 19, 2002
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                    Shirley ...

                    I can't talk to the salaries in the DC area ... but you are't likely
                    to make significantly more $ as a paralegal. I suggest you go to
                    www.nala.org and/or www.paralegals.org and look for the salary
                    surveys. That should give you a better idea of the salary ranges
                    for paralegals starting out versus paralegals with experience, etc.

                    I have been a paralegal in California for 15 years. Allegedly,
                    California paralegals are well paid when compared to the rest of the
                    nation. My salary is in the $50 range, but I also live outside of
                    the large metropolitian areas (where the $ is better but traffic
                    WORSE).

                    As for paralegal education ... here is my two cents. For someone
                    without a BA/BS degree, I highly recommend finding a college or
                    university who offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a specialization
                    in paralegal studies. That way you get your Bachelors and your
                    paralegal cert at the same time. A Bachelors is preferred by most
                    employers ... plus, if you are going to spend the $ on an education,
                    it's best not to waste it on a mere certificate or on classes that
                    may not be transferrable towards a Bachelors. Either way, be sure
                    to look into whatever program you are considering closely! ABA
                    approved programs are the best choice because they are monitored by
                    the ABA and must keep up with certain standards in their legal
                    education. With respect to certificate programs, steer clear of the
                    fly-by-night programs that are out there. Generally those credits
                    are not transferrable and so what you wind up with is a costly piece
                    of paper! As for how long the program is ... that wholly depends on
                    the institution and many units you are willing to take at one time.
                    Might I suggest looking on the ABA website ... I believe they have a
                    list of ABA approved schools on there which would be a good start!

                    FYI: Generally the term legal assistant and paralegal are
                    synonymous. In the "olden days" legal assistants were actually
                    secretaries and paralegals were paralegals. Now, that has changed.
                    Most states have definitions and laws which regulate our
                    profession. In CA, the definition of a paralegal includes the term
                    legal assistant.

                    Good luck!

                    Marjorie Jameson-Falce
                    in Southern California
                  • J granado
                    my point was i never said corporate law or employment law were the same and also according to nala they are used the same way as far as a legal assistant or
                    Message 9 of 11 , Nov 20, 2002
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                      my point was i never said corporate law or employment law were the same and also according to nala they are used the same way as far as a legal assistant or paralegal goes
                      mensa58 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:Sorry, I still have to disagree with your statement in part, because
                      paralegal and legal assistant are not necessarily the same. It's
                      hard to figure out when & where they differ, though. My position is
                      called "paralegal" at my current firm and "legal assistant" at my
                      former firm -- so there's a case where they ARE the same. At my
                      current firm, however, a "legal assistant" is more of an entry-level
                      position, not requiring any experience.



                      --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., J granado <jgfwtx1@y...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > Guys that statement wasn't an answer about corporate law and
                      employment law being the same I know they are quite different,that
                      was an answer regarding whether a paralegal or legal assistant was
                      the same.


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                    • mensa58
                      And my point is that, while in real life a paralegal and a legal assistant are the same, at some firms the terms are used to mean different positions. To
                      Message 10 of 11 , Nov 20, 2002
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                        And my point is that, while in "real life" a paralegal and a legal
                        assistant are the same, at some firms the terms are used to mean
                        different positions.
                        To repeat -- in slightly easier to read format -- here are the job
                        titles at my current firm and my former firm, from "entry level"
                        to "specialist."

                        Former firm -- Legal Assistant Clerk, Legal Assistant, Senior Legal
                        Assistant or Specialist

                        Current firm -- Legal Assistant or Case Assistant, Paralegal, Senior
                        Paralegal or Specialist

                        IMO, when you're job searching and you're interested in a firm, find
                        out what that particular firm calls a particular position. It'll
                        only make you look good.


                        --- In allparalegalsnetworkingetc@y..., J granado <jgfwtx1@y...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > my point was i never said corporate law or employment law were the
                        same and also according to nala they are used the same way as far as
                        a legal assistant or paralegal goes
                        > mensa58 <no_reply@y...> wrote:Sorry, I still have to disagree with
                        your statement in part, because
                        > paralegal and legal assistant are not necessarily the same. It's
                        > hard to figure out when & where they differ, though. My position
                        is
                        > called "paralegal" at my current firm and "legal assistant" at my
                        > former firm -- so there's a case where they ARE the same. At my
                        > current firm, however, a "legal assistant" is more of an entry-
                        level
                        > position, not requiring any experience.
                        >
                        > ]
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