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Job Interview Updated: Another little update, positive thing


Quill
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36 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

have no idea what a paralegal does, if this does not work out can you do some sort of contracting short term work ? Since you have accounts background too ?  If you don't need medical it opens up lots more opportunities in my experience.

I could but I would not pursue that unless it was the only way to put bread on the table. I don't really enjoy working with numbers; I much more enjoy working with words and ideas. There is a lot of the later in law. I am also not at all interested in trying to drum up freelance business. To me, that is like being on a constant job interview where you have to keep convincing people that they want you. That's the part I hate about interviewing the most. 

A paralegal, just FYI, assists lawyers. Depending on the type of law and the structure of the business, this can take numerous forms. Some might mostly interview people as part of a case. Some might obtain and organize things like medical records. Some are total support staff and do basically all the tasks the attorney can't bill for. This particular job is closer to that last one, which is typical in solo offices. 

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I'm glad it went well.  From my experience of coming back into the workforce, unless the boss is horrible and the job would really get you down, it's worth taking any relevant position.  Once you have proved that you can hold down your job despite gaps in your work history, getting future jobs should be easier.

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4 hours ago, Quill said:

I could but I would not pursue that unless it was the only way to put bread on the table. I don't really enjoy working with numbers; I much more enjoy working with words and ideas. There is a lot of the later in law. I am also not at all interested in trying to drum up freelance business. To me, that is like being on a constant job interview where you have to keep convincing people that they want you. That's the part I hate about interviewing the most. 

A paralegal, just FYI, assists lawyers. Depending on the type of law and the structure of the business, this can take numerous forms. Some might mostly interview people as part of a case. Some might obtain and organize things like medical records. Some are total support staff and do basically all the tasks the attorney can't bill for. This particular job is closer to that last one, which is typical in solo offices. 

The other aspect of this is the conflict aspect---lawyers aren't going to hire temp paralegals from firms that have clients on the other end of the table. Some firms have a standing per-diem pay structure where essentially you are functioning as a contractor (no benefits, pay per diem, etc.) but you are generally a long-term contractor with them.  I've seen some paralegals have multiple employers, but it's generally been that the second employer is a bank and there's a limited scope to the work (ie--works for the bank doing car repos two days a week, works for Dewey Cheatham and Howe three days a week as an estate planning paralegal doing forensic accounting, etc.).

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13 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

The other aspect of this is the conflict aspect---lawyers aren't going to hire temp paralegals from firms that have clients on the other end of the table. Some firms have a standing per-diem pay structure where essentially you are functioning as a contractor (no benefits, pay per diem, etc.) but you are generally a long-term contractor with them.  I've seen some paralegals have multiple employers, but it's generally been that the second employer is a bank and there's a limited scope to the work (ie--works for the bank doing car repos two days a week, works for Dewey Cheatham and Howe three days a week as an estate planning paralegal doing forensic accounting, etc.).

Yes, the conflict thing can be a big deal, even just moving from one office to another. 

This attorney does have another "of counsel" attorney in a different law division who generally just does her own thing, but rents space from him. He said there is some potential per diem work for her because she has no paralegal and would use one if there was one. The secretary who has been working for him wasn't really suited to that because she was more of a just-here-for-the-typing kind of secretary and didn't really get into legal analysis stuff. 

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  • Quill changed the title to Job Interview today and my own reservations Updated: I got offered the job

I'm not going to share the details here, but I've had occasion to hire multiple lawyers in the last few years for family issues. All told I've worked seven in the last five years including four who were nationally ranked attorneys in major metropolitan areas. All were complete professionals and had good paralegals, FWIW.

But GOSH, they are assertive, speak-their-mind people. I'm a professional educator, and it's a different set of skills to work with an attorney, particularly a high-powered one. They want quick responses and decisions. They have strong opinions and need to be argued with if they aren't taking everything into account. One of them was a well-known litigator, and I had to tell him repeatedly that I wanted to settle out of court until he stopped asking about that. He was respectful, but he knew how to ARGUE. He was also a persistent negotiator, and we were successful with getting a good out-of-court settlement. Thankfully! 

In my younger days, I think I would have enjoyed that field if I was working with someone who maintained a level of mutual respect with me. But being older, I'm sticking to education (smile).

I think you'll be fine. 

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On 11/11/2020 at 9:16 AM, Quill said:

 

 

UPDATE 11/18/20: He offered me the job via email. I am accepting it. I do still have some reservations, but I think it is a net win. Worst-case scenario: I get some updated experience and don't stay for the long term. 

Congratulations.  It seems like you are going in with realistic expectations.   Is this full-time job? 

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Congratulations!  I hope that it turns out to be a good fit for you and that you enjoy it.  When do you start?

Edit:  How are you feeling about it now that you have been offered the job and will accept it?  Are you happy?

Edited by Ditto
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On 11/11/2020 at 8:16 AM, Quill said:

UPDATE 11/18/20: He offered me the job via email. I am accepting it. I do still have some reservations, but I think it is a net win. Worst-case scenario: I get some updated experience and don't stay for the long term. 

WOOHOO!!! Congratulations!!

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9 minutes ago, Ditto said:

Congratulations!  I hope that it turns out to be a good fit for you and that you enjoy it.  When do you start?

Edit:  How are you feeling about it now that you have been offered the job and will accept it?  Are you happy?

I start this Friday. 

I am "medium" happy. I'm not ecstatic; I'm not unhappy. I'm pleased. Glad to get my foot in the door somewhere; expect to like the tone of that little firm; think I can do the job well. 

There is a part of me that is sometimes not happy that I will be working full time. If we had millions of dollars, I would rather read, play with cats, and bake things. Absent millions of dollars, though, this seems like the thing to do. 

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Congratulations! I hope this is a great job for you!  Lawyers are (or can be) aggressive, so hang in there. I don’t think they mean it personally, but they tend to speak a bit more directly than most people do.

Edited by Garga
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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

I start this Friday. 

I am "medium" happy. I'm not ecstatic; I'm not unhappy. I'm pleased. Glad to get my foot in the door somewhere; expect to like the tone of that little firm; think I can do the job well. 

There is a part of me that is sometimes not happy that I will be working full time. If we had millions of dollars, I would rather read, play with cats, and bake things. Absent millions of dollars, though, this seems like the thing to do. 

Was full time the only option with this firm?   I understand how you feel.  I do hope you end up loving it enough that you don't mind the full time aspect.

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5 minutes ago, Ditto said:

Was full time the only option with this firm?   I understand how you feel.  I do hope you end up loving it enough that you don't mind the full time aspect.

It's a tiny firm, so yes. He is flexible, though, because he is an older guy and isn't out to set the world on fire. So it doesn't sound like it will be a big deal if I need to come in late or leave early, so long as I get the work done. 

Besides that, it really needed to be full time for me, or else it is not worth it. 

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26 minutes ago, Quill said:

I start this Friday. 

I am "medium" happy. I'm not ecstatic; I'm not unhappy. I'm pleased. Glad to get my foot in the door somewhere; expect to like the tone of that little firm; think I can do the job well. 

There is a part of me that is sometimes not happy that I will be working full time. If we had millions of dollars, I would rather read, play with cats, and bake things. Absent millions of dollars, though, this seems like the thing to do. 

This is how I feel about working too.  LOL

Congrats on the job though.  At least the applying and interviewing is over now!

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One more little update that I think you all will like:

I was chatting with the lawyer on the phone today (I start tomorrow) and he again mentioned that he had been hesitant on the fact that I had been out of law for so long. “But,” he said, “I admire that you devoted twenty years to your family and homeschooling your kids. I think that says a lot about you; I dig it.” ☺️

I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself, feeling maybe I misspent all those years. (I still feel this way some.) It was very validating to hear him say that, though. 

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  • Quill changed the title to Job Interview Updated: Another little update, positive thing
17 minutes ago, Quill said:

One more little update that I think you all will like:

I was chatting with the lawyer on the phone today (I start tomorrow) and he again mentioned that he had been hesitant on the fact that I had been out of law for so long. “But,” he said, “I admire that you devoted twenty years to your family and homeschooling your kids. I think that says a lot about you; I dig it.” ☺️

I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself, feeling maybe I misspent all those years. (I still feel this way some.) It was very validating to hear him say that, though. 

Oh, that IS affirming. I hope he turns out not to be a jerk! 

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26 minutes ago, Quill said:

One more little update that I think you all will like:

I was chatting with the lawyer on the phone today (I start tomorrow) and he again mentioned that he had been hesitant on the fact that I had been out of law for so long. “But,” he said, “I admire that you devoted twenty years to your family and homeschooling your kids. I think that says a lot about you; I dig it.” ☺️

I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself, feeling maybe I misspent all those years. (I still feel this way some.) It was very validating to hear him say that, though. 

I bet you guys will get on really well, and that he will be very very appreciative to have found you! 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

One more little update that I think you all will like:

I was chatting with the lawyer on the phone today (I start tomorrow) and he again mentioned that he had been hesitant on the fact that I had been out of law for so long. “But,” he said, “I admire that you devoted twenty years to your family and homeschooling your kids. I think that says a lot about you; I dig it.” ☺️

I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself, feeling maybe I misspent all those years. (I still feel this way some.) It was very validating to hear him say that, though. 

Best thing I have read all day. 🙂

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I am rarely on here any more (I've just dropped in to look for Christmas gift ideas) because, just over a year ago, I bought my own small law firm from my now-former boss after she retired suddenly for health reasons. I went from two days/week to six an seven literally overnight. It has settled down a lot now, but that first year was insanely stressful. I now have two full-time and one part-time attorney, but I do all of the firm management. So, with that background, I want to offer a couple of tips:

1. Our state bar has a TON of resources available for small firm. You can check out firm management software to try out there. They offer training on all sorts of stuff. Your state's may do the same. I am thinking not so much billing and invoicing (which QB is probably fine for a solo practice) but for digitizing his files. If he is looking at retiring in 6 or 7 years, he probably has paper files out the wazoo that will need a home. Each state and firm handle file retention a little differently, but if you really want to make yourself valuable, help him figure this out before he is ready to retire or, God forbid, has to walk away after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Attorneys dying or becoming disabled and leaving their practices in a state has been such an issue that our bar has even started asking anyone over a certain age (60, maybe?) to designate another lawyer to "inherit" their files. If you die or become incapacitated without having designated a successor, the bar actually inherits your files; they literally go to the basement of the bar building where clerks try to catalog them. Don't let him be that guy. I rehired a retired secretary who was familiar with our system to digitize massive quantities of our former owner's files. We had tons of paper files in storage and called them all back so we could throw them out or scan them. I am proud to have no storage fees now!

2. He likely has a ton of accounts receivable because a lot of lawyers are afraid to talk money with their clients. If he will let you, do that for him. It amazes me that full-grown lawyers are afraid to talk money with their clients. I see it all the stinkin' time. You know why I got into law? I needed a job. I did not get into law as a charitable endeavor. Pay your bills, people! I inherited a ton of uncollected a/r (because our former office manager checked out for the last year she was here) and have managed to collect almost every bit of it just by asking. Sometimes repeatedly, but a personal email saying, "Hey, did you realize you haven't paid us since March? Is there something I need to be doing to help this work through your accounts payable process?" can work wonders. I stay on top of my a/r now and have never had to fire a client for nonpayment.

3. Find a way to file emails that does not require printing them and filing the hard copies. There are multiple programs that will do this. I used one called FoxIT because it saves the attachments well, but it is not perfect. But something is better than an email inbox with 10,000 emails.

Obviously you don't want to walk in on day one and do all of this, but these are just some ideas for ways you can make yourself even more valuable. I understand why he seems cranky; it is hard to find good help. But I hope it works out great for both of you!

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