Advice from Paralegal Graduates to All New Students
Study hard. It gets easier as you go along.
Come prepared and be willing to learn. Participate in class discussions.
Be courteous. An instructor can assist you as a paralegal graduate by writing letters of reference for employment, and as a student with scholarship opportunities.
Join or form a study group. This has many benefits from networking to helping each other understand the course material.
Take as many electives as you can. Having a working, basic knowledge of various practice areas can help you in your career, as the practice areas do overlap. You may also discover a new passion for a particular area of law.
Join your local paralegal association. They can provide networking, jobs, scholarships, and additional seminars to help you increase your knowledge.
Participate in a pro bono event, such as a law clinic through the local bar association or paralegal association. This gives you valuable experience while making a valuable contribution to your community. This may even lead to a job offer.
Turn in your assignments on time. Law is time driven, and turning in late assignments is a bad habit, which in "real life" can cost the law firm big money, and you your job.
Do your best in every assignment. If you don't understand something, ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Once you are working, you will need to ask questions to clarify assignments delegated to you.
Take the internship class to gain real life work experience and office skills.
Watch your time management in completing homework and class assignments. It is difficult to catch up if you fall behind. Poor time management skills translate to poor job performance reviews.
Remember to have fun. Find a balance in choosing classes, and do not overload by taking too many "heavy homework" classes in the same semester
Be honest and be sure that this is what you really want to do. Have a realistic idea of what paralegals do in their jobs by doing informational interviews of working paralegals.
If you are having difficulty in class, ask for your instructor's help as soon as possible.
Learn as many computer programs as possible, from word processing to litigation software to legal research.
Pay attention in class. Turn off your electronic devices and be respectful of those who wish to learn. Texting, surfing the web, and other non-class activities are very distracting and show disrespect to the teacher and your classmates.