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 and law firms I talk to about paralegal support services. Unless you or your firm are in a position where you need significant support immediately, take advantage of the opportunity to ease into support services. Firms that have never used a support service often have so many questions that they hesitate to move forward. Starting small and working into more substantive work gives you the opportunity to ease into it and feel more comfortable with the process. It doesn’t take long to realize that a paralegal support service doesn’t really differ from working with a traditional employee in the way that the workflow is accomplished, and it offers greater flexibility from a business perspective.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this series and have finally reached the last stretch. To recap:
- Traditional search techniques fail to consider how good or engaged a prospective paralegal will be at his or her job.
- We must first have a clear idea of the support we want to receive, including what we want help with, the tasks we want our paralegal to perform, and the traits and qualities that complement those tasks.
- Don’t sugar-coat the position. Tell it like it is, and you’ll receive better-qualified applicants.
- Search for patterns of behavior or activity that indicate whether the paralegal has the traits and qualities necessary to excel.
- Don’t jump in feet first. Start with something small and make sure it’s going to work. (See above.)
- When you’ve found your A-player paralegal, make sure you’re compensating those abilities. It’s too costly not to.
I’m very excited about all the information we’ve covered and look forward to putting it to good use. I hope you will, too. If you have more ideas, or find things that do work or don’t work, email me or share them in the comments below so everyone can learn from the experience.
Until next time, happy hunting!