Free Consultation

Being a Family Law Paralegal


My name is Emily and I started working as a paralegal this year. I have no legal background, but I have extensive administrative experience, which makes me perfect for this role. Changing career paths is always a breath of fresh air but there’s a learning curve. I have learned a lot in this new role in just a short amount of time. It’s unlike any job I’ve had, and I can’t wait to learn more. With the right experience and a willing mentor, your skillset can be applied to this position just like any other. It is no small task to digest all the legal parameters and processes, but if you have a patient and helpful attorney on your side like I do, it is surely worth it.

One of the most important things I’ve learned at Pinellas Family Lawyer is to slow down. It sounds counterproductive but slowing down and triple-checking your work saves you and your attorney time. As you can imagine, accuracy is crucial in law. Every document needs to be true, grammatically correct, and formatted properly. If something is wrong, your attorney will see it. If they don’t catch it the clerk will, and nobody wants that. This is the first job I’ve ever had that values taking a deep breath and slowing down to cultivate accuracy. Not to mention that it saves the client money.

How would making sure your document is in 13pt font save your client money, you ask? – Billable hours! This is a unique skill exclusive, to my knowledge, to law. You start a literal timer before you begin a task for a client and stop it as soon as you finish. Accuracy and understanding can save the client some cash by not having to file amendments or cause unnecessary additional work. However, billable hours are how we all make money so it’s not all bad. Having to relearn time management in this format is the most noticeable day-to-day change I have experienced so far. Say goodbye to that ADHD muti-tasking habit and hello to a timed, organized workflow. You are in the right place if you’re in a law office that upholds ethical billing practices. I’m proud to say that I am.

Speaking of ethics, did you know that there’s quite a bit of autonomy when practicing law? Imagine you are contemplating a life change, and you are searching for lawyers in your area. How do you know which law firms are of quality? How do you even know what type of lawyer to search for? Most people don’t! This wasn’t something I had thought about before starting as a paralegal, but it is crazy to think about. There is no rating or real review system for lawyers. What I’ve learned is most people google something like “divorce” and start calling the list of family law firms that pop up. They make a choice based on budget or who answered first and that’s that. Neither of those factors speaks to the quality of the attorney. If I have any suggestions on this, I’d say schedule a few consultations and go with the attorney you feel most comfortable with. High cost and a flashy office doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a great attorney. It could just mean they’re good salespeople.

One of the things I won’t pass up is a good networking opportunity. Since networking in the world of law, I’ve learned how differently things can run from office to office. Most other paralegals work extra hours and do most of the work on cases. They are the ones that know each client’s name and all the details. Some offices, like mine, work in cadence with the attorney. We assist and rely on the attorney’s strategy. I am truly thankful to have started in an office where the attorney actually cares, knows the clients, and works in their best interest. A callback to good ethics!

As said before, paralegals know the cases in and out. We get the phone calls and chase the information. I knew paralegals were involved but I didn’t know just how much information we need from clients. Family law requires clients to divulge a lot of personal information considering the context of the case. If you are a naturally curious person, maybe paralegal work is for you. If you’re in the market for a family law attorney, just know there will be no secrets between us! It’s been a wild ride digging into people’s lives. Despite the drama, we get connected to these people. This is what makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I can see the fruit of our labor at the end of a case. We are truly changing lives.

The work of a family law paralegal is fulfilling, sometimes tedious, and never dull. I am thankful to be where I am and continuously learn from attorneys I respect. Not all offices are the same and for that reason, shop around for an attorney! After all, we will be getting very personal.

Leave a Comment