I recommend that all paralegals keep abreast of paralegal salaries in your geographical location and your specialty area.  There are a number of national and local associations which make this information available on their web sites.  Make it your business to collect, tag or bookmark this information for easy and quick reference.   Virtual paralegals should network with other virtual assistants and paralegals for this information.

When I interviewed for my position and negotiated my salary, I was so excited about getting back in the legal profession that I failed to nail down some important specifics.  I accepted a starting salary at the lower end of my expectations.  I guess I expected that would be necessary to get my foot back in the door.  It was my mistake when I failed to discuss when that initial salary review would occur to get me back up to current market levels.  I also should have discussed annual salary and performance reviews.

At that point in time, I already knew I was going to re-take the certification exam with NALA, and this was discussed in general terms.  Again, I failed to negotiate the specific terms of how my future employer would (or would not) support my career goals.  Their idea of support and my idea turned out to be two very different perspectives.  I accept responsibility for that lack of communication.  It was important to me, and I should have made a specific reasonable request.

Before accepting the position, ask for a complete tour of the office.  Take a look at the office/workspace where you will be working.  Ask to see the offices of the primary attorneys you will be working with.  Sometimes first impressions can be very revealing  Don’t walk into a new job like a blind date!

One thought on “PARALEGAL TIDBIT: Confidently negotiate specific terms of your employment.

  1. Reminds me of last Friday’s interview, which was going great guns until the interviewer asked if I had a problem with cats, because two cats live in the office. Is an allergy a problem? I think so! I prefer breathing to the alternative.

    So, I immediately (and apologetically) switched gears, and talked up another laid off paralegal colleague with a similar background and temperament with NO cat allergy problem. He sent his resume the same day and has an interview this week.

    Too bad the legal recruiter market is over-saturated here in Michigan. I’m much better at finding jobs for others than for myself! This would be at least the second one I’ve set up this year.

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