The Litigation Paralegal Career Accelerator is a framework that I developed a while ago when I was outlining the curriculum for the Litigation Paralegal Boot Camp program. Before I tell you WHAT it is, let me tell you why.
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I developed this framework because 30 years ago, I was there. Where? The place every new paralegal is at the start of their career. I was a new litigation paralegal who sat at my desk that first day of my new job, excited to be starting my paralegal career but also terrified because I realized I had no idea what I was doing. Back then, I didn’t understand the difference between a paralegal certificate program and paralegal training that shows you how to do your job as a paralegal.
I wondered what EXACTLY was I supposed to be doing.
They taught me in school how to write a legal research memo using the IRAC method. They told me about the importance of knowing the rules of civil procedure and made me memorize legal terminology and Latin terms used in the legal industry.
But the problem with that is no one was knocking on my office door asking me to define res ipsa loquitur. And the other paralegals didn’t have the time to show me what to do. And neither did the attorney.
It’s literally like you’re on a deserted island talking to a soccer ball named Wilson. Now, remember, this was long before Google and Facebook. Although, relying on Google and Facebook groups for answers to your paralegal questions isn’t the best solution either.
There were not a lot of paralegal training options back then. Every once in a while you’d get a flyer in the mail about a paralegal conference. The problem was – they were all about CLE credits and most of them were taught by attorneys. Attorneys and judges like the ones who teach the paralegal certificate programs.
If you’re reading this blog and you were one of the lucky ones with a great paralegal mentor who shared their wealth of knowledge with you, then you might just be a unicorn.
They do exist. Not unicorns, but the lucky ones who had a great mentor. Every once in a while, I’ll meet a paralegal who says that they had someone take them under their wings and show them everything they needed to know in order to eventually feel like they had a solid grasp on their role as a paralegal.
Or, every once in a while, I meet a paralegal who says they had an amazing attorney who patiently trained them on everything they needed to know.
Now, if you just spit out your coffee because you laughed out loud at that, I’m sorry, but I have heard it a few times in the last 30 years.
Well, I wasn’t one of them. And you probably weren’t either.
The Problem: Lack of On-the-Job Support and Paralegal Training
Do any of these sound familiar when you’re starting out your career:
- You’re a new or fairly new litigation paralegal, and you THOUGHT they would train you. But they didn’t. They have no on-the-job training program for you.
- Your mentor took you to lunch on your first day, and you haven’t seen them since.
- Your attorneys don’t have the time to explain things to you.
It happens. All you have to do is read posts on social media in some of these paralegal groups. It’s sad. And it makes me mad.
Here are a couple of posts I saw just this past week – we’re talking Fall 2022, not 1992, before we had easy access to online training programs and virtual meetings.
I graduated a few years ago with an associate’s as a Legal Assistant. I had a very brief experience at a law firm after graduation, where they gave me no training, and everything I did was wrong. I asked questions and asked to be trained, but they wouldn’t help. They said I should know what I was doing, but I didn’t, so we parted ways.
Another person jumped into this group and asked for some tutoring because she was struggling.
I just need help at work, like understanding deadlines and basic stuff like that. Paralegals at work don’t really want me asking questions to them.
Those are just two of the many posts that I’m sure you see, too, if you’re a part of any of these paralegal social media groups.
That’s why I developed the Litigation Paralegal Career Accelerator framework. To solve that problem.
Developing a Solution
Back when I was first starting out developing paralegal courses, I took a course on how to create impactful courses for adults. And the most important thing I took away from that was that a course should always solve a problem.
I knew immediately the first problem I wanted to solve, and it was for litigation paralegals so that they wouldn’t have to spend the first five years or more struggling to know what it was they were supposed to be doing on the job.
How do you, as a new litigation paralegal, know what to do on your cases without waiting to be told what to do by the attorney? Especially when attorneys aren’t known to be the best delegators.
And how to have a successful, rewarding career without having to wait the 10-15 years that everyone says it takes to get there.
If you’ve been following any of the Paralegal Bootcamp’s social media for a while, listening to our podcast, or watching my YouTube videos, you know that I’m on a mission to bust that myth. You don’t have to “put in your time” like it’s a jail sentence.
That’s my WHY. Why I developed the framework that I call the Litigation Paralegal Career Accelerator.
The Litigation Paralegal Career Accelerator
Ok, so that’s the why. Now, what is it?
It started with a simple Venn diagram that had what I knew were the 3 main categories that I could help with: Mindset, Behaviors, and Skills.
And then I said – what are the 3 most important areas in each of those 3 categories? And more importantly, what are the 3 in each category that would have the BIGGEST impact on a paralegal’s career?
It’s not like there are only 3 in each category or a total of 9.
But what are the 3 in each category that is critical if a paralegal wants to change the trajectory of their career and not have to wait a decade or two to enjoy a successful career?
What if there was a quicker path? A better path?
What if it didn’t have to take 15 years? What if you could do it in less than half that time?
You can. I absolutely promise you that you can.
Alright, let’s talk about what those are in each of those categories.
First is mindset. The 3 areas within mindset are:
- The mindset that you don’t have to just put in your time. You can be a rockstar paralegal now. Not a decade or two from now.
- That you own your career. The mindset that this is your career, and you get to choose how successful of a career you have.
- The mindset that you own your cases. You are the project manager of your cases, and you are taking the lead on proactively moving your cases forward.
And next is behaviors. The 3 areas within the behaviors category are:
- You master time management
- You pay attention to detail at a new level
- You are proactive
Last but not least are the Skills. The 3 areas inside skills are:
1. You master the discovery phase of litigation
2. You level up your trial prep skills
That’s the Litigation Paralegal Career Accelerator framework to accelerate your career as a litigation paralegal. And if you’re not in litigation, the first two would still apply the same, and for skills, you could substitute the skills I just mentioned for the top 3 paralegal skills in your practice area.
The reason I’m using litigation for this is that it’s the framework I use to teach the Litigation Paralegal Boot Camp, and I just opened enrollment again for it. And it’s the last time we’re opening it for 2022.
Enrollment closes on Thursday, October 13th. Learn more about it below. But whether or not you join me in this program or another paralegal training program – find one. Don’t wait around for someone else to dictate when you’re going to learn everything it takes to be a successful paralegal.
I’ve said this before, but I’m going to repeat it – focus on your career security, not just your job security.
Litigation Paralegal Boot Camp
The only online program of its kind that combines an on-demand course and live coaching calls to give you everything you need to accelerate your litigation paralegal career.
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Meet the Author
Ann Pearson is the Founder of the Paralegal Boot Camp, and host of the Paralegals on Fire! Podcast Show, and passionate about promoting the paralegal profession.
Ann spent 20 years working as a paralegal manager and a litigation paralegal before opening the Paralegal Boot Camp in 2010. Her training programs focus on adding immediate value to a paralegal’s career and bridging the gap between what a paralegal learns in school and what they actually do on the job.
When Ann is not working, you can usually find her somewhere near the ocean, either boating, scuba diving, or rescuing sea turtles.