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Foot in the Door: Biglaw paralegal?

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:52 pm
by Liberal Theory
Not directly related to law school admissions but this is the most relevant forum for my concern.

I find myself leaning more and more towards the idea of working for about three years in Houston while my fiancée gets her M.D. However, any old job isn't worth foregoing law school to me and said job should not only cover the opportunity cost but also be relevant and give me skills that translate to law practice. I've been looking for federal law enforcement jobs in Houston but they seem far and few between and I need the career in within a year to make it worth it. I've considered CPS worker/ Child Support officer but that's never been part of the plan and the pay and experience seems marginal at best.

The only other job I can see myself doing in Houston before I go to law school in north Texas is a biglaw paralegal. I think the job is a natural complement to any future attorneys resume, and it would help me decide if Biglaw really is what it is cracked up to be. So my question is this: I know theres about a dozen or so biglaw firms in H-town (BB, V&E, Jones Day, et al) but do they hire newly graduated B.S's? How long is the hiring process? Is there always a spot somewhere for a biglaw paralegal applicant or are they as rare as associate offers?

I admit I don't know as much about big law as I should so I've begun my googling but any information from you guys is appreciated. Thanks.

Re: Foot in the Door: Biglaw paralegal?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:57 pm
by MaxMcMann
I did something similar, albeit in New York. I had zero luck applying for jobs at big firms on my own, but had great success working with recruiters as each firm's HR person seems to have a few that they like and are familiar with. I suggest approaching recruiters for a resume drop and interview prep. For what it's worth, I'm glad I did it and I found it confirmed my desire to go to law school.

Re: Foot in the Door: Biglaw paralegal?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:36 pm
by Liberal Theory
That's interesting, so how did you find a recruiter? Do they recruit paralegals at job fairs or do you have to arrange a meeting somehow? I would very much like to know!

Re: Foot in the Door: Biglaw paralegal?

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:41 pm
by MaxMcMann
Liberal Theory wrote:That's interesting, so how did you find a recruiter? Do they recruit paralegals at job fairs or do you have to arrange a meeting somehow? I would very much like to know!

I don't want snarky, but it's not a good sign that you can't do your own research on this rudimentary level. A huge part of being a paralegal is a partner giving you a long assignment with unclear directions and you getting it done perfectly without bothering him.

Google "[city in texas where you are] legal recruiter". Check to see which ones do paralegals as well as lawyers. Submit your resume. Then give them a call (without waiting for them to get back to you - that way you can talk to two recruiters, whoever is randomly assigned your resume out of the pile and whoever picks up the phone). Be polite and friendly to said recruiter, if you can string two words together they'll ask you to come in so they can size you up in person. Come dressed professionally (as in, in a suit and tie appropriate to the work environment you want to be in). Then they'll help out (minimally) from there.

One thing you should learn right away is never ask a question you can google. It'll save you from getting yelled at/getting a passive-aggressive smile (depending on how aggressive the culture at your firm is).

Re: Foot in the Door: Biglaw paralegal?

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:14 pm
by peege
Hey, I saw this thread and thought I could help! I just got hired as a paralegal at a mid-sized, regional law firm out of undergrad. The main issue with trying to get a paralegal job without experience/a certificate is that a lot of places want you to hit the ground running. If you've never written a complaint or answered discovery or whatever the practice area requires, I don't think it's likely you'll get a paralegal job. I had two years of working in a law firm during undergrad. However, a lot of big firms hire legal assistants and admin assistants, and the skills are usually easy to pick up. They just don't want you to be scared of attorneys or be at risk of making mistakes. Don't limit yourself to BigLaw either. It may be a foot in the door, but I think having worked in any law firm for a few years is a unique experience among law students and that will translate no matter where you go once you start interviewing for attorney jobs.

Now to find the jobs, I literally did a google search of "biggest law firms in x area", went to their individual careers pages, and applied like crazy. Most of the big ones never got back to me, but the firm that hired me still has a great reputation in my region.