Find an A-Player Paralegal, Part VI

Making a decision and getting started The last step in finding an A-Player paralegal is to start small.  If you’re a long-time reader, you know we’ve said this many times.  This just proves that it’s true! Once you think you’ve found the perfect support, whether a paralegal support service or traditional employee, start small.  Before offering the job or retaining full support, ask for assistance with a small project.  Don’t suggest it might go further.  Simply ask the paralegal if s/he is available to help with the project.  If you’re impressed, ask for help with a larger project.  If you’re not impressed, you haven’t lost anything – but you will have saved yourself a lot of time, money, and heartache.  If the larger project works just as well, then make a formal offer or ask to receive formal paralegal support services. This is the same advice I give to attorneys … Continue reading

Find an A-Player Paralegal, Part V

Pattern interviews So far you’re off to a great start in finding an A-player paralegal.  You’ve identified needs, tasks, qualities, and traits that will fit with your practice, and have started narrowing down higher-level paralegal support by painting a brutally honest picture of the job at hand. If you’re hiring an employee, the next step is the interview.  This, too, differs from the traditional interviews that we’ve held.  It’s also where all those traits and natural abilities come into play.  For me, it’s also the most challenging. In your interview (or during your discussions if you’re talking with a paralegal support service), search for the traits and qualities you identified earlier.  It’s not hard to pick up on qualities and traits during a conversation, especially once you’re consciously aware of them. In addition – and this is the key – look for patterns in behavior.  Ask about experiences that have … Continue reading

Find an A-Player Paralegal, Part IV

The job description The articles in this series build on each other, and the last article was no exception.  If you missed Part III, take a minute to read it now before reading this fourth article.  Don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you get done. At this point in the series, you should 1) know what you need help with, and 2) have a list of related tasks and 3) relative traits and qualities. If you’re looking to hire an employee, it’s time to turn that information into a job description.   If you’re going to retain a freelance paralegal or paralegal support service, you need to develop it into a bullet list, summary, or other form of information that you can refer to as you discuss your needs and goals with prospective services. Don’t hold back as you’re organizing and drafting the description or summary.  Rather than sugar-coat the … Continue reading

Find an A-Player Paralegal, Part III

Identifying needs and goals Last time, we found out how costly it is to pay for less than the best. Now that we know, we need to work on improving our methods for finding the best paralegal support possible.  With Mike’s technique, finding good paralegal support begins before we start looking.  As we’ve discussed in the past, it begins with some soul searching. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want your paralegal to do, neither will your paralegal. At the most basic level, you need to first decide what you want help with. It won’t matter how good your paralegal is, or how great his or her suggestions are – if you don’t have a good understanding of your needs, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be satisfied. If you have to, start generally.  Once you have a general idea of what you want … Continue reading

Finding an A-Player Paralegal, Part II

The true cost of lower-level support The introduction to this series identified the challenge in finding good support, and briefly considered how we’ve traditionally looked for support.  Those traditional methods can be costly when they don’t work.  During the business seminar I attended, Mike shared a wealth of statistics and information on employee engagement, and the cost of hiring less-than engaged and capable support. According to those statistics, only 29% of employees are engaged in their work.  That’s a scary thought that leads to an even bigger problem: The 70+ percent of employees who are not engaged do not do a good job, are dissatisfied with their employment, and create a less-than-appealing work atmosphere.  In contrast, employees who are engaged enjoy their job and are good at what they do. Our first goal, then, is to find, retain, and keep one of the 29% who are motivated.  If you’re looking … Continue reading

Finding an A-Player Paralegal

The last substantive article we published focused on maximizing paralegal support.  It was written on the pretense that you already have, or are getting ready to start using, a paralegal.  But what if you do not yet have a paralegal and are concerned about finding good paralegal support? Well, I may have found the answer.  While attending an amazing business seminar by Mike Michalowicz and Donna Leyens, I was thrilled to find that the discussion included the topic of finding great employees – something I struggled with myself as my own business began to grow.  After a few conversations with attorneys who were having difficulty finding good support, I decided to share my newfound wisdom so that others may hopefully benefit, as well. One housekeeping note about this series: Paralegal Support 101 provides attorneys with information about both the paralegal profession and paralegal support services.  To provide complete information, you’ll … Continue reading