Bar associations recognize the inherent stress that comes with being an attorney and have created programs and resources to assist lawyers who are battling the negative effects of stress including alcohol and drug abuse. What makes these programs effective is that they not only take into account the negative effects of stress but also consider the stress triggers that are unique to attorneys. This is important to creating an effective stress management system for attorneys because an attorney’s stress is not the same as that of a military soldier or a taxi driver so the resources and information provided by the bar association is tailored to that of the attorney. The same can be said for the stress of a paralegal. What causes an attorney the most stress is often not the same thing that causes a paralegal stress and therefore must be addressed differently.
To illustrate the difference in the causes and effective techniques for dealing with stress consider the role of a litigation attorney and a litigation paralegal. The attorney’s stress will typically result from working with opposing counsel, judges, and other strategic issues of a case. The stress of a paralegal will usually derive from the working relationship with their managing attorney and the demands of keeping on top of their job duties. Although, they both are working on the same issue because they have different roles and functions the stress will be different and will require a different approach to managing it.
Since paralegals are not regulated by bar associations or any regulatory body this critical element in career management often goes unaddressed and leaves a void in the career development of paralegals. In order to be productive and efficient an individual must have a handle on their job functions and their stress level. If one of these elements is missing it is impossible to function at peak performance. Stress can also spell disaster for a paralegal and their employer if not correctly managed. Following are five methods that can immediately be put to use to manage stress:
Paralegal Business Crash Course
Learn about business concepts and how to utilize them to excel in your paralegal career. The paralegal role is fundamentally a business role. When the role was developed in the 1960's by a collaboration of the American Bar Association and other bar associations it was developed to ensure that underrepresented segments of society would be able to afford an attorney and gain access to justice. It was not created to lower the bar for entry into the legal field. A law firm is a business that must provide effective services while also earning a profit. The attorney role was developed to provide legal services and the paralegal role was essentially developed to provide business services to attorneys so that those cost savings could be transferred to a firm's clients therefore increasing a firm's overall profits.
A paralegal's productivity not only impacts thier individual job and career, but also that of those that employ them. In this series paralegals are provided with business tools to maximize their efficiency. Most law firms require that paralegals and attorneys meet minimum billable hour quotas. These billable hour quotas determine the amount of time that should be spent on income generating activities like preparing legal documents, conducting investigations, and other substantive legal functions. Meeting these requirements can be a challenge for individuals that are new to organizations that track billable hours and individuals that have inefficient time management practices in place. In this series the fundamentals of the billable hour will be examined in an attempt to demystify and clarify any misunderstandings about what is billable and nonbillable.
The following topics are also covered in this four hour on-line business crash course for paralegals:
Registration also includes access to several on-demand sessions. A certificate of completion is provided once these sessions are completed and can be used to demonstrate your mastery of business concepts and principles.
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Course Slides: Improving Client Relations
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Annual Paralegal Course Subscription Plan
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Paralegal Rainmakers Basic Membership
Network and Educate Your Way to Success!
Become a Paralegal Rainmaker member and join a growing community of paralegals across the globe. When you sign up you can access career resources including complimentary registration to The Paralegal MasterClass, which includes sessions from paralegals and other legal professionals across the globe, newsletters, an on-line social forum to discuss topics of interests specific to the nuances of working as a paralegal, discounts, and more.
Paralegal Rainmakers provides information, resources, courses, workshops, and programs tailored specifically to paralegal professionals as well as individuals seeking to enter the paralegal profession. Paralegal Rainmakers focuses on the professional development aspect of a paralegal career and also assists paralegals with maintaining a successful career in the legal industry.
Paralegal professionals as well as aspiring paralegals can learn about emerging trends within the paralegal profession in addition to staying abreast of technology usage in the legal industry by signing up for an annual membership plan.
Enjoy the following benefits when you sign up:
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Llynette Bealer has 20 years experience including working as the Office Manager/Bookkeeper for Junior Achievement of San Diego and various Business Improvement Districts in San Diego, CA. She has worked in mortgage bankruptcy for Chase Home Finance and various law firms.