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AllieKat
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25 Apr 2011, 1:21 am

Hello, I'm considering getting a certificate in paralegal studies. I mainly want to focus on research and writing rather than going out and dealing with clients. I was wondering if this is an Aspie friendly field and what the prospects for employment are.



sacrip
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25 Apr 2011, 6:41 am

Do you already have a bachelor's degree? You don't need one in most states to be a paralegal, but some paralegal courses won't accept you unless you have one, and your job prospects as a paralegal are lower without one.


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SadAspy
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25 Apr 2011, 4:54 pm

I've looked into it (even after getting a MASTER'S degree!), but I don't think it pays much unless you have years and years of experience.



AllieKat
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26 Apr 2011, 1:39 am

I have a BA in early childhood education (this is because back when I was 18, and and starting college, I couldn't deal with my peers in high school but related well to small children and did quite a bit of baby-sitting in the neighborhood. I was actually naive enough to think teaching preschoolers would mean I get to play with kids all day and avoid the adult world).

I did well in my college coursework but was a disaster in the classroom as managing all those kids was a major sensory overload and I could not deal with large groups of children or show appropriate social graces when communicating with the parents about their children's behavior. For the past several years, I've been doing some part time babysitting (2 kids max) and other odd jobs (errands, dog walking, household management tasks). This was adequate for supporting myself when I was in my 20s and my medical insurance costs were low and I was living at home. Then, I was involved in a minor accident two years ago and realized how precarious doing odd jobs for a living are when it depends on your health.

I can live with my parents while going to school and maybe when doing a low paying internship but I'd like to have a full time salary w/ medical benefits within 2 years of completing the program.

Because I have a BA, I was told I could complete the certificate within a year and start an internship in my last quarter of the program. I was also told that I would probably be able to get full time job if the internship goes well. However, before investing a year of my life in this program, I want to know if I"m making a good choice. My parents are still on my case about how I wasted 4 years of my life and their money studying early childhood education (although they were the ones that insisted that I got my BA rather than just a certificate in childcare as I initially wanted to do)



starryeyedvoyager
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28 Apr 2011, 1:58 pm

It depends on where you are located, really. I am studying law, and it is really a mixed bag. Studying law in Germany, I can only tell for me, it was HELL, as there I didn't get any support, and sitting in an auditorium with about 350 students was really exhausting. I never had problems memorizing things, but I had a really hard time understanding what was asked from me. However, writing my final paper went really well, and I finished as one of the best of my class.
On the other hand, I had little trouble becoming proficient in anglo-saxon common law. After hearing most legal defnitions once, I memorized them pretty much exact, and this is why I plan to make the bar exam when I am finished to become an attorney at law. I'd say go for it, I'm sure there is always need for someone to do the paperwork.



FaeryEthereal
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29 Apr 2011, 11:19 pm

I looked into this career as I wondered whether or not I'd be suited for it (have since learned definitely NOT) I hear and read that many paralegals are utterly miserable in this job. You need an ability to handle stress, work under pressure and deadlines, work 12 hour days and often (but not always) so I hear, law offices are hostile environments. I think some aspies would thrive in this job and others would wither.

I know you need a good paying job but aside from that, are you actually REALLY interested in law work? If so then go for it! Go with your interests and what suits your personality.



AllieKat
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29 Apr 2011, 11:30 pm

Yes, I do have some interest in the law but I wouldn't be comfortable in a chaotic environment. I could work 12 hour days but I'd need some solitude in order to focus. I was maybe thinking of working for a small family law practice or something like that. Alternatively, I could also consider getting an accounting certificate but I do find the law more interesting than crunching numbers. I am going to see my career counselor next week to discuss this more in depth.

It sounds like there could be the potential for the same disaster that I experienced with my previous degree. I could do really well in the courses but fall flat on my face in the work world when under too much pressure.

I wish it wasn't so complicated....



FaeryEthereal
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30 Apr 2011, 1:51 am

I totally understand Allie, it sucks :roll: Maybe you could find somewhere that would let you shadow a paralegal for a day so you can get an idea if you'd like it or not?

I'm not trying to put you off but it does not sound easy to get into this field:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5215494_become- ... arket.html

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 636AADR9pT



AllieKat
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30 Apr 2011, 1:56 am

Great idea. I'm going to talk to my career counselor about the job shadowing. I won't start school until this September so I have plenty of time.

Allie Kat
http://www.myaspergerslifestory.com/



Musicprophets
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30 Apr 2011, 7:56 am

over the course of the last year or so, i thought about going back to school for information technology, environmental engineering, marketing, and paralegal studies. obviously i wanted to get in and get out in less than 4 years so paralegal caught my interest. i too already have a b.a (in communications---of all things!) and well that degree is practically worthless to any employer. anyways, while researching these career options, i came to the conclusion that with the long hours, the tedious boring complicated paper work typing papers and interviewing people, dealing deadlines, having lawyers as my bosses, and just having to be a very communicative, confident social person would not be best for me. i highly doubt paralegals are able to be locked away for hours on end each day to just do research from books, and type papers. but if you have the interest and desire to learn about law, then more power to you. as for me, im still trying to keep myself satisfied/distracted at the moment in my current job/career path as i just think that if i go back to school again, i'll be some sort of failure, and only burying myself in more debt with no guarantee for employment.



Lahmacun
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08 May 2011, 11:30 am

Paralegal courses can be VERY interesting...I took one at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and it was excellent. Rigorous, but it was done in one semester. I quickly got an entry-level job at a small law firm as a receptionist/paralegal, but I really spent more time as a receptionist and just assisted the senior paralegal there. Later, they fired the firm that had been doing their "court running" work for them (people who shlep forms and motions and what have you from courthouse to law firms and back again), and loved it.

If you are in a large U.S. city, your chances for getting work will be GREATLY enhanced if you have decent Spanish. You should have strong computer skills with Word, and be able to do some transcription work via a dictaphone. You must also be good at dealing with impatient, arrogant, egotistical lawyers who treat you like crap...I'm not kidding here. One of my jobs was to clean up human feces left by homeless people who would camp out near the office at night and leave their "deposits" literally at our front door.

Although I learned a great deal from it, for me it didn't work out well in the end. Depending on what kind of law firm you get into and what kind of law you're working with, you're not likely to start out doing much research at first...you'll only get to do that after you've paid your dues for at least two years. The first two years you'll be making very little money, then if you can hack it past that stage, you'll be able to move onto your next job. Then, when you hit the five year mark of experience, you'll be able to move again and get into the high paying end of it.

You might consider legal secretary work, as that is very heavy on word processing, and knowing just the right forms to fill out and how to fill them out, rather than slogging through five years of junk before you're trusted. Good luck!