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How to Hire a Paralegal? [Specially Designed for SMB]

When your law firms are overloaded with legal and documentation work, it’s time to hire a paralegal to make sure important deadlines aren’t missed and the quality of the firms work doesn’t suffer.

Well-trained paralegals, with solid legal experience, can free up valuable weekly hours for attorneys to spend on billable tasks.

Let’s delve into a guide that shows how to hire a paralegal, from identifying the basic requirements to reaching the final agreements with chosen candidates.

Identify Key Priorities from Typical Paralegal Responsibilities

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), paralegals can take on tasks usually done by lawyers, as long as they are supervised by a lawyer and no legal boundaries are crossed.

Paralegals, however, are strictly prohibited from engaging in what’s considered the unauthorized practice of law. Specifically, they cannot represent clients in court, conduct depositions, or sign legal documents or pleadings.

Particularly, a paralegal can help ease the workload for your law firm with these specialized responsibilities:

  • Greeting and handling guest arrivals.
  • Thoroughly reviewing, refining, and compiling case documents and briefs, along with conducting necessary research.
  • Creating standard communications and reports.
  • Organizing and electronically filing legal papers with courts.
  • Overseeing schedules to track and meet court-related deadlines.
  • Establishing new files and communicating representation to claim adjusters or relevant entities.

Refine Job Requirements of a Paralegal

Top-tier paralegals distinguish themselves by their skill set and through a foundational set of qualifications and experiences that set the standard in the industry.

When identifying a candidate that meets the expectations, evaluate their background against a core set of criteria.

  • Completion of high school education.
  • Two to three years of experience in a paralegal or legal secretary role.
  • Proficient in computer skills.
  • Exceptional verbal communication abilities, especially in professional interactions with all levels of firm staff.
  • Superior written communication skills, with a focus on correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Ability to implement and maintain a calendar of deadlines and ensure timely delivery of documents.
  • Polite and professional manner.
  • Maintain a high level of accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Strong ability to work independently with minimal supervision.
Refine Job Requirements of a Paralegal

Highlight the Job Benefits For a Paralegal

The demand for hiring a paralegal has been predicted to increase by 10% from 2020 to 2030, according to Zippia’s report. So, there might be some tough competition for experienced candidates in the labor market.

The paralegal profession presents an enriching and multifaceted career path characterized by a blend of stability, growth, and diverse opportunities. Therefore, list out some of the most compelling benefits of being a paralegal will attract more candidates:

  • Predictable Work Schedule: Paralegals typically enjoy a stable work-life balance with standard workdays, offering a significant advantage for those seeking a career that aligns with family life and personal commitments.
  • Professional Certification and Recognition: Gaining professional certification as a paralegal can lead to higher salaries and greater recognition in the field. Certifications such as the Certified Paralegal from NALA enhance a paralegal’s credentials and marketability.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: The paralegal profession offers several avenues for career advancement. With experience and hard work, paralegals can rise to positions like paralegal director or litigation support manager, which come with increased salaries and responsibilities.
  • Diverse Specializations: Paralegals have the opportunity to specialize in various areas such as family law, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, immigration, corporate law, and estate and probate law.
  • Skill Development: Working as a paralegal helps form a core set of skills like writing and editing, organization, computer proficiency, and dealing with numbers. Paralegals often find themselves energized by deadlines and the precision required in legal work.

Classify the Job Levels of a Paralegal

Each expertise level in a paralegal’s career roadmap matches the different demands of recruiters.

Let’s delve into these levels to understand better what each tier offers.

1. Entry-Level Paralegal

Paralegals are typically newcomers to legal support at this initial stage, requiring close guidance. They focus on fundamental tasks such as basic legal research, document preparation, and administrative duties. Opt for entry-level paralegals if your needs are centred around these basic legal tasks or your current paralegal needs more bandwidth.

2. Junior Paralegal

A step above entry-level, junior paralegals bring a few more years of experience and handle a wider scope of responsibilities. They undertake more independent tasks, excelling in document management, client communication, and aiding in legal decision-making processes.

3. Senior Paralegal

With several years of experience, senior paralegals bring a depth of understanding and expertise to their roles. Their extensive experience in the legal field equips them with insights into various law areas, making them adept at drafting intricate documents, engaging with clients, and managing diverse cases.

Choose a senior paralegal if you aim to enhance work quality while minimizing the need for direct supervision.

Classify the Job Levels of a Paralegal

4. Lead Paralegal

At this level, the role is beyond just legal expertise. Lead paralegals are professionals capable of supervising and training a team. They possess a wealth of legal knowledge and leadership skills. Their role often requires a balance of legal and administrative oversight, focusing on team coordination and leadership.

5. Paralegal Manager

At the top of the paralegal career ladder, paralegal managers oversee an organization’s entire operation. Their role includes hiring staff, managing budgets, and planning strategies for the long term. This position is ideal when your needs include comprehensive management of the paralegal function.

Establish Competitive Salary Ranges for The Paralegal Role

The salary for paralegal roles will be based on your firm’s location, the level of expertise and the complexity of the tasks they are expected to handle. To establish a fair income that mirrors the position’s demands and the candidate’s value, it’s important to reference benchmark salaries for different paralegals’ positions, considering factors like specialization and experience.

Job titleExperienceDecision-making AuthoritySalaryIndustries with Top Salaries
Entry-Level ParalegalLess than 1 yearLimited, mostly assisting lawyers with research and document preparation$44,959 per year, according to IndeedLaw firms, especially in corporate law, intellectual property, and large metropolitan legal markets.
Junior Paralegal1-4 yearsModerate, may include more complex tasks$51,987 per year, according to IndeedFinancial services, healthcare law, and government agencies.
Senior Paralegal5-9 yearsHigh, often trusted with highly sensitive documentation, research and reporting$69,501 yearly according to IndeedCorporate legal departments, particularly in technology, finance, and pharmaceutical industries.
Lead Paralegal10-14 yearsHigh, often leads a team of paralegals and manages complex legal projects$71,828 per year, according to GlassdoorHigh-end law firms specialize in mergers, acquisitions, and international law.
Paralegal Manager 15+ yearsVery high, manage and develop the paralegal team and the system$121,383 per year, according to GlassdoorLarge corporations, especially in industries requiring extensive legal compliance like finance, healthcare, and technology.

Publish Your Job Opening Where Your Ideal Candidate Will See It

After defining which paralegal level suits your business needs, create a job post with all the information covering requirements and benefits. Afterwards, share your post on relevant platforms that can reach your potential candidates.

However, simply posting a job and waiting is no longer effective when competing with other established legal firms and corporations. Therefore, to attract top talent, employers must distinguish themselves and look for candidates in the right places, going beyond common platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed.

Publish Your Job Opening Where Your Ideal Candidate Will See It

One effective approach is to add a tool that brings unique candidates to the application process by posting a job with Boulo.

Here’s how Boulo transforms your job posting from just another listing to an unmissable opportunity for skilled paralegals.

  • Fast and Efficient: Boulo helps you to hire a qualified candidate you’re excited about up to 7 days faster.
  • Access to a Broad Network: Gain access to our extensive community of over 64,000 candidates, who boast an average of 10 years of experience in various legal and supportive sectors.
  • Proven Track Record: With more than 500 successful placements in diverse fields, our expertise in matching the right paralegal with the right job is well-established.

We aim to speed up the hiring process and align job openings with candidates whose skills and experience align with your firm’s specific needs and goals.

Conduct Effective Interviews

You often barely have the time to conduct interviews. Therefore, preparing a set of questions covering all legal, behavioral, and situational scenarios can help you uncover their potential effectively.

Here are some questions we recommend you ask during the interview.

1. What is the biggest motivation that makes you a paralegal?

Why: This question helps uncover the candidate’s passion for the field and their desire to be successful in the role.

Why: You’ll want to understand their commitment to ongoing learning and staying current with legal developments.

3. Can you describe a challenging case you’ve worked on and how you contributed to its resolution?

Why: This situational question provides insights into the candidate’s problem-solving skills, teamwork capabilities, and ability to handle complex legal matters.

Based on the current workload of your legal team or organization and your expectations toward the target candidate, you can sort out relevant questions to hire a paralegal effectively.

Create and Finalize the Offer

The last step before welcoming a new member to your organization is finalizing the offer.

The final offer will come from discussions between the two sides regarding requirements, responsibilities, and negotiated salary.

The final offer should include all these key components:

  • Determine the Salary: Consider the candidate’s qualifications and the market salary standards for the role to establish a competitive offer.
  • Compose the Job Offer: Include details like job title, reporting structure, work schedule, compensation, bonuses, benefits, privacy policies, termination terms (if applicable), and the offer expiration date.
  • Open to Negotiation: Be open to discussing any concerns or requests the candidate may have, such as salary, benefits, working hours, or other preferences.
  • Set a Response Deadline: Give the candidate a reasonable period to consider the offer thoroughly.
  • Maintain Open Communication: Stay accessible for questions and confirmation of their decision, forming a transparent and professional relationship throughout the process.

Approaching the process with clear communication and flexibility helps build a strong professional relationship with the candidate.

FAQs About Hiring a Paralegal

Hiring a Paralegal is complex so we know you might have further questions.

1. How can we integrate the paralegal seamlessly into our company’s workflow and ensure they deeply understand our business operations?

To smoothly integrate a paralegal into your company and ensure they understand the complexity of your business, start with a detailed onboarding process. Introducing them to your business’s core values, workflows, and specific legal arena.

Add in customized training to address the unique elements of your industry and how your business operates within it.

Maintain an open line of communication through regular feedback sessions, creating an environment where they can comfortably seek clarification and align their work with your business goals.

If you need to streamline your hiring process and return your focus to your core business, the Boulo’s Scale plan is an ideal option. It covers all the steps of the recruitment process, from candidate sourcing and candidate vetting to hiring, freeing up your valuable time to concentrate on strategic planning and business growth.

Have more time on your hands or prefer to be more deeply involved? Check out our Seed and Grow Plans

Start by setting up clear communication channels, such as regular meetings and digital updates, to keep everyone aligned. Define everyone’s roles and responsibilities for clarity and efficiency.

Additionally, schedule routine project briefings and debriefings to provide consistent updates and gather feedback, which helps keep everyone moving in the same direction and provides a time where concerns could be expressed. Encourage open discussions and collaborative problem-solving, fostering an environment of teamwork and innovation.

As a proactive community with over 64,000 experienced candidates, Boulo helps you connect with the most talented professionals to ensure quality work.

Boulo diverse candidates are not often found on other platforms and are made up of women, mothers and caregivers seeking full-time, part-time and contract roles. View our pricing plans customized for SMEs.

FAQs About Hiring a Paralegal

To protect sensitive business information while working with a paralegal:

  • Establish strict confidentiality agreements and clear data protection protocols.
  • Employ secure and encrypted communication channels and document storage systems, ensuring that access is limited to only authorized users.
  • Regularly review and update these security measures to adapt to new risks or changes in legal requirements.
  • Cultivate a culture within your team that prioritizes discretion and confidentiality, highlighting the importance of safeguarding sensitive information in all work activities.

Hire a Paralegal For Your Businesses

Understanding how to hire a full-time, part-time, or contract paralegal is a strategic move for any business looking to enhance its legal operations. The right paralegal can bring your team a wealth of knowledge, efficiency, and support, significantly contributing to the smooth handling of legal matters. If you’re ready to find the ideal paralegal for your business, don’t hesitate to take action.

Post a job with Boulo to connect with a diverse pool of skilled paralegals ready to smooth your organization’s operation. Let Boulo help you find the perfect match for your legal team’s needs.

Ready to post a job?