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Tech-savvy paralegals have more employment opportunities.
Most paralegals had no reason to question their job security six months ago. The economy was booming and there were paralegal jobs for the entry-level as well as the experienced paralegal. However, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) brought a lot of change to the traditional law firm.
The good news is that there are still plenty of great career opportunities for experienced paralegals. Especially for those that have technological skills. The better news is that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession will continue to grow 12 percent annually through 2028.
The New Law Office?
Legal consultant Mark A. Cohen summed up the future of the law office succinctly in his article, “COVID-19 Will Turbocharge Legal Industry Transformation”. He said the coronavirus “will propel law into the digital age and reshape its landscape”.
According to Cohen, remote work and distance learning are just the tip of the iceberg. He predicts that we should expect more inter-office collaboration as well as more collaboration with other law offices. In addition, there will be more digital hearings and trials. Most importantly, he stressed that the key to survival is upskilling (learning new skills).
Paralegals Poised and Ready
According, to a 2019 study by Legal 2 Legal Solutions and Ari Kaplan Advisors, paralegals have what is takes to meet the challenges of a post-COVID-19 law office. Many paralegals regularly participate in virtual team meetings and are comfortable using a variety of digital tools and applications. Finally, paralegals excel at learning new skills and keeping up with the latest trends in eDiscovery.
The survey of 35 paralegals and paralegal managers in the AmLaw 200, revealed:
- 71 percent of paralegals believe that collaboration is extremely important to their day-to-day work;
- 63 percent said they receive periodic training; and
- 49 percent of paralegals described their level of autonomy as significant.
In addition, 63 percent of the survey participants provide litigation support and 60 percent have some responsibility for eDiscovery. These trends reflect the growing impact of those fields in law firms and how paralegals are ready to accept the challenge.
The impact of COVID-19 will be minimal if paralegals remain tech-savvy and able to collaborate digitally. Paralegals understand that teamwork is essential to make operations run smoothly and effectively. Working well as a team not only saves time, it also increases output.
Autonomy is Essential
The coronavirus brought many workplace firsts, from having to work from home while kids were out of school to attending virtual hearings from your living room. As work and home life became more intertwined, paralegals continued to show that they have the ability to efficiently utilize their time and prioritize tasks. Paralegals, already known for their skills at autonomy, will continue to prove that they have this discipline post-COVID-19.
Paralegals and Technology
Technology allows paralegals to work more efficiently with the automation of routinized tasks. One key component that will certainly increase in the law office post-COVID-19 is eDiscovery. Paralegals who are working with e-discovery will also act as a conduit between the IT department, attorneys, and clients.
The biggest challenge with eDiscovery is how to store and protect valuable data properly. Paralegals will aid in ensuring that the proper steps are taking to keep the data organized and secure.
In conclusion, it is the right time for paralegals to show how they have the right skills to do the job.
For more than a decade, SRS has been helping job seekers find their ideal opportunity. If you are a top performer in the Legal Industry or Informational Technology, submit your resume. Exceptional talent is in high demand at the top-performing companies. Ready to make a career move? Contact SRS today!