Day in the life of
Paralegal – Nicole Nina
My name is Nicole Nina and I worked as a Paralegal in the Denver metro area for several years in an array of practices with some of the top attorneys in Colorado. I have a formal degree in Applied Science – Paralegal Studies amid other graduate degrees.
No two days as a paralegal are ever alike, and every day is guided by what emergency needs to be dealt with. Generally, paralegals work business hours, but if there is a big trial coming up you can work a lot more. I would come in at 4am sometimes to print exhibit notebooks.
When I got into the office, usually around 8am, I would scan my emails for filing deadlines to the court and make my attorneys aware of any same-day turnarounds we needed to accomplish. I would focus the rest of my day around deadlines, as did all of the firm. I would work on drafting court pleadings, file documents with the court, organize pertinent records and mail, print exhibits, call clients to obtain further information, and answer the phone.
It was important to every firm I worked for that if a potential client called, and the case was a good one that could bring the firm a lot of money, that we dropped whatever we were doing to assist. One case could bring a firm millions–you just had to catch it. So, as paralegals, we never let calls go to voicemail.
Lunches were mostly taken at my desk as I scrambled to get as much done as possible every day. There were days when the firms I worked for either paid for fancy lunches or received them from an entity wanting referrals. It was rare I got to eat lunch with my attorneys because they too were very busy.
In the afternoons, I would remind my attorneys of any deadlines that may have gotten pushed to the side in the morning and assist with whatever I could to ensure we got things filed with the court before I left. As a paralegal, you have to be organized. There is a joke in the legal community that paralegals keep track of everything for their attorneys, and I found that to be very true. I’d leave no later than 5pm most days, but always take a laptop home in case something came up later in the day.
Some days were more stressful than others, dealing with multiple conference room bookings, potential client interviews, and court proceedings. And some days were more laid back doing legal research and reworking a demand letter. Paralegals rarely get to go to court with attorneys, but when I did it was always the most fun–watching all the hard work in action!
- Paralegals can get paid more than other professions with sometimes no formal education beyond either a high school diploma or technical degree.
- Paralegals can enjoy corporate employee benefits such as extravagant lunches and gifts from top clients.
- Paralegals can develop deep and meaningful relationships with the attorneys they work for.
- Attorneys rarely want to see Paralegals go on to get further education, or heaven forbid, enter law school. Many attorneys wish to hire a paralegal that will work for them for the duration of their professional career.
- Paralegals can work long and demanding hours without much extra compensation. Most Paralegals are salaried and rarely get bonuses that are even close to what attorneys receive.
- Being a Paralegal can sometimes feel like invisible work when your name rarely given credit for things you produce.
represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.