Legal assistants are beginning to take on a more significant role in law offices around the world as law firms transform from traditional offices to modern, hybrid work arrangements. It’s not difficult to see why. Legal assistants are capable of doing a wide range of time-consuming duties. Did you know the average person reads their email for over two hours every day? Hire legal assistance and have them on your side to save time as, at the end of the day, time is equivalent to money.
Even though the legal assistant market is growing at a double-digit rate, we continue to hear individuals voice reservations about hiring one. It’s especially prevalent in the legal profession, as lawyers are sometimes unwilling to adapt to contemporary trends, particularly those in their field. Here are the top concerns to consider while you hire legal assistant and work with them by 247LegalAssist.
#1. Ability To Handle Multiple Tasks
Legal support staff often serves more than one role, including receptionist, office administrator, payroll supporter, and HR coordinator. It is imperative that they be capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously. If your job requires precision and direction, employees with a job based on a recipe will have trouble in this situation. These types of tasks would be best suited to someone with excellent judgment, confidence, and diverse work history.
#2. Prioritization And Foresight
A legal professional makes thousands of decisions each day. Those who work in legal support will have the freedom and flexibility to prioritize their tasks. There is no question that most attorneys lack the time and resources to write detailed instructions for every duty. Training staff takes time, but employees who understand how attorneys work and anticipate challenges will succeed more than those who don’t.
#3. Excellent Service To Clients
Legal assistants and paralegals regularly deal with clients, opposing counsel, courthouse staff, adjusters, clerks, and other professionals. In addition, many of your associates will contact your legal assistant or paralegal for information. Whether an attorney or a law firm is regarded as credible is heavily dependent on how they treat their business partners.
When you understand why it is so hard to hire paralegals and legal assistants, you can develop an effective recruitment plan that ensures you assess candidates for all the qualities you need.
#4. Adaptability & Teamplay Skills
A paralegal’s, legal assistant’s, and legal team’s needs, priorities, and personalities change constantly. Many legal assistants and paralegals work for multiple attorneys, which implies that orders and objectives constantly change. A law firm such as this handles clients with particular needs, personalities, and expectations. When colleagues are unavailable, have competing deadlines, or have too much work to take on their own, paralegals and legal assistants assume the responsibilities of their colleagues.
So that your law firm’s paralegals and legal assistants make the best use of their time and effort, they should communicate, collaborate, and share goals. There is only one way to achieve this goal: work collaboratively and acknowledge “that’s my job” attitude is a must.
#5. Emotionally Strong And Organized
It is not necessary to have thick skin in a literal sense. Still, it is important to have thick skin in a metaphorical sense. Attorneys and clients frequently become emotionally agitated during the preparation and presentation of their cases. Clients may find these situations difficult to deal with. Legal assistants with excellent skills know how to stay cool under pressure and not take things personally under pressure.
In most law practices, deadlines are the driving factor. Managing ongoing cases with tight deadlines while responding to fires every day is not easy. Even worse, if your legal assistant doesn’t handle time well, things can become even more difficult. Effortless time management, the ability to cope under pressure, and the ability to not easily be rattled are the qualities of the best legal support staff.
#6. Communication & Documentation Writing And Documentation
Make sure to allocate jobs in the order of significance while you’re allocating them. As a result, before moving on to other assignments, your virtual assistant can concentrate on the ones that are time-sensitive.
Another alternative is to use task management software. You may, for example, see how a job assigned to your virtual legal assistant is progressing. If you can’t reach them directly, you can check on a task.
Furthermore, before hiring an Assistant, you must have an interview with them. Get to know the applicant better by taking advantage of this opportunity. Keep the lines of communication open once the applicant is hired so that they can be integrated more quickly.
A paralegal or legal assistant is usually expected to keep a staggering amount of documentation and write a lot of papers. An attorney cannot read every email, file, or correspondence in the case management system or review every item on the case management system.
#7. Interpersonal Skills & Critical Thinking
The assistant of a legal team may also need to handle demanding clients, stressed attorneys, hardhearted opposing counsel members, unwilling witnesses, as well as coworkers, vendors, and judges. Top-tier legal assistants can interact with all levels of staff, provide guidance, and defuse heated situations. Such interactions can be conducted in person, over the phone, during video conferences, email, text message, or even in writing. Understanding nonverbal cues, communicating effectively, negotiating, and emphasizing are essential elements of communication.
Strong analytical abilities are required because legal assistants are responsible for performing research. They must be able to do research, identify reliable sources, and separate relevant facts. A legal assistant should be able to distinguish between stepping into a case or speaking with an attorney and staying silent. Finally, a competent legal assistant’s critical thinking skills can be an invaluable asset.
The question of how to hire paralegals and legal assistants can be addressed by devising a plan to make sure you screen these professionals for all the qualities needed for their success.
An excellent recruiting strategy involves hiring great people, valuing them, and evaluating them frequently. A good hire is someone who can function well, is charismatic, and fits into their company’s culture! People can be taught how to use software, but they cannot be taught how to make good decisions! Therefore, do not hire anyone just because of their experience or skill set.