I did Google searches for the terms legal assistant and paralegal. Then I added Legal Assistant Today (LAT) and National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). I was already familiar with these organizations. Much to my delight I found that technology was on my side because there was a wealth of information available on the internet. Numerous web sites provide free information to individuals willing to make a time investment. There are numerous webinars, e-courses and teleclasses available at reasonable rates. My mind began racing with possibilities and excitement! Paralegal associations offer webinars, teleclasses and live conferences. Check for local and national associations. By joining their membership, you often will acquire a discount on meetings and classes!
Around Christmas, 2008, I decided it was “time”. As I evaluated each of these difficult questions, I was confronted with the fact that my professional world had undergone massive technology changes, not to speak of all the rule and procedural changes in the various courts. So, where did I start? Where else? Google!
So, what if you have lost touch with the constantly changing legal field during those years at home? Where do you begin to find your open door back into this fast-paced professional arena? How do I plug myself in? When I left the profession, there were almost no electronic court filings (ECF). Email communication with clients and opposing counsel was in the early stages. “E-Discovery” and digital data were non-existent in my everyday litigation world.
Where do I start?
In 1984 I was certified by NALA and began using the professional designation of Certified Legal Assistant. As a working mom, life happened. A couple of children were born. A couple of job transfers and new positions for my husband. And then approximately 8 years at home during which I homeschooled my youngest daughter. And bada bing! I had allowed my professional certification to expire. I was out of touch with the legal field.
Never let your professional certification expire! You have worked hard to obtain it. Even if you are planning a change in your career path! Everything we learn — and earn — just adds to our unique qualifications for that dream job down the road.