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Paralegal at an Immigration Law Firm

Q1: Where are you located?

A1: Los Angeles, California, USA

Q2: What is your role title?

A2: My role title is Paralegal.

Q3: In your words, describe what you actually do?

A3: I support attorneys by conducting legal research, preparing documents, managing case files, and ensuring we meet deadlines. I work on corporate and immigration matters.

Q4: How long have you been doing this role for?

A4: I've been a paralegal for 5 years since completing my paralegal certification.

Q5: How did you get to this point in your career?

A5: I started as an administrative assistant at a law firm while earning my paralegal certification online. I was promoted to paralegal after obtaining my certificate.

Q6: When it comes to remuneration, what are your three B’s? (Base, Bonus, Benefits?)

A6: My base salary is $75,000. I receive an annual bonus up to 5% based on performance. Benefits include health insurance, 401k matching, and generous PTO,

Q7: I’m not going to ask you who you work for, but, what industry is your company in?

A7: I work at a mid-size corporate law firm that serves clients across several industries like technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Q8: When it comes to work flexibility, is your work primarily office-based, fully remote, or a mix of both? Which do you prefer? Does your company allow you to be flexible?

A8: My work is a mix of in office and remote. I prefer having the flexibility to work remotely 2-3 days per week. My firm is very flexible.

Q9: What does an average week or a typical day look like for you? Can you walk me through your day? What time do you arrive and start at work, what are your main tasks/responsibilities, who do you interact with, what meetings do you attend, etc.?

A9: I arrive at the office by 8:30am if I'm going in. I'll review emails, make my to-do list, and check in with my supervising attorney. My day involves a mix of research, document drafting, client follow ups, and helping attorneys prepare for closings or hearings. I interact regularly with attorneys and clients. I have weekly team meetings.

Q10: What does a typical day look like when things are going well vs a more challenging/stressful day?

A10: When things go well I'm able to get everything done on my to-do list. Challenging days involve tight deadlines, client demands, or unexpected urgent issues. I have to manage my priorities and stress levels.

Q11: What skills or knowledge are most important for your day-to-day work?

A11: Attention to detail, organization, legal research, and communication skills are very important. I need strong knowledge of corporate and immigration law.

Q12: What are some examples of recent accomplishments or contributions you've made in this role?

A12: I recently streamlined our signature packet process which reduced errors and saved many hours. I also took on researching a complex new state regulation and summarized implications.

Q13: Do you have a supportive manager and do you feel valued?

A13: My manager provides support and feedback to help me develop. I feel valued for the work I do.

Q14: How much time do you spend collaborating with colleagues vs working independently?

A14: I collaborate heavily with attorneys but also get focused independent work done daily. I'd say it's a 50/50 split.

Q15: Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting this role?

A15: I wish I had known just how fast paced and demanding this work can be! But it's very rewarding.

Q16: What do you hate most about your role?

A16: The most stressful parts are urgent client demands and having to rearrange priorities.

Q17: What do you love most about your role?

A17: I love that I get to work on interesting issues and collaborate with smart people. I also like seeing deals come together.

Q18: What’s the next role for you and when do you hope to achieve this?

A18: In 2 years I shope to become a senior paralegal manager.

Q19: Is your next role going to be with the same company or a different one?

A19: I plan to stay with my current firm as I feel they value my contributions and provide opportunities to advance.

Q20: What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who aspires to reach your position?

A20: Build relationships and expertise in an area of law you enjoy. Finding good mentors helps tremendously too.

Q21: It’s Day 1 for someone in your role. What one piece of advice would you give them to succeed?

A: Here is the one piece of advice I would give someone starting out as a paralegal:

Stay organized and prioritize effectively. This is a fast-paced role with competing demands coming at you each day. You'll handle multiple cases spanning different areas of law.

Keep detailed checklists and to-do lists to stay on top of everything. Track your deadlines diligently. Don't let things fall through the cracks. But also learn when and what to prioritize - if two attorneys need something urgently, speak up and get guidance on what should come first.

Organization and effective prioritization are so critical in this role for success, maintaining your sanity, and earning the trust of the attorneys you support. Make these core skills from day one and everything else will become much easier after that foundation is set. Good luck!

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