6 Key Considerations For the New Freelance Paralegal

One of the great things about the paralegal career is the various career paths that become available once you have some experience behind you. While a good percentage of paralegals work for one law firm, corporation or government agency, a fair share a take a more entrepreneurial route, daring to put out their own shingle as freelancers. If you're an experienced paralegal - or you've come across this article because you're looking into the field - below are six points to ponder before you decide if freelancing is right for you.

The very first thing you must assess is your education. While a quality education preparing to become a professional paralegal is preferable, holding a degree in another, unrelated field does not automatically disqualify you from a career as a freelance paralegal. Many freelance paralegals come from -and benefit from - a business administration and accounting background. Any academic coursework outside of traditional paralegal studies that emphasizes communication skills, business functions, and/or legal concepts will prove useful.

Experience in the legal field
There's no skipping this assessment - you must honestly take stock of your experience in the field before embarking on a career as a freelance paralegal. Your clients will be seeking to do business with an individual with a strong paralegal background. In fact, your biggest selling point will be how much traditional paralegal experience you bring to the table. Be fair to yourself and your potential clients - you should have at least five years of paralegal experience behind you before launching your freelance career.

Experience from prior careers
If applicable, you should think about what skills and know-how you can bring to your career as a freelance paralegal from your prior careers or work situations. Make a list of transferable skills and think of ways in which you can apply these to your business. You might be surprised at how nicely prior career experience complements your freelance pursuit.

Business acumen
Are you quick in understanding and dealing with a business situation? Do you have knowledge and understanding of the financial, accounting, marketing and operational functions of a business? Again, the answers to these questions require an honest, thoughtful self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses in these areas.

Financial stability
Like any business, to successfully launch a career as a freelance paralegal you will need capital. If you're serious about starting your own business, do yourself a favor - don't rush into it without first getting your financial house in order. Assuming you're not working from home, you'll need office space. And no matter where you work from, you'll need insurance, office supplies, office equipment, furniture... you'll also have technology needs - computers, printers, scanners, software, internet, etc. Take the time to develop a realistic operating budget.

Time management skills
Benjamin Franklin said, "Lost time is never found again." As a freelance paralegal, you will come to realize the truth of this wisdom. However, if you are proactive, able to work independently, and can implement a realistic time-management system you can stick to, you will avoid much of the frustration that comes with poor planning. In a small business, weak management of time will keep your business from growing. That's why it is crucial to have a time management system in place to keep you on track.

Working as a freelance paralegal, being your own boss, can be an incredibly rewarding career. Using your practical experience and your resources, you can earn an income from home if you so chose. After assessing the above factors, ask yourself whether you are better suited to be an entrepreneur or employee. Then, as Thoreau advised, go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

The opportunity for you to start your own business is out there, and I encourage you to explore your options. You can do this!
If you'd like more helpful information about paralegal careers and training, visit www.paralegaltrainingprogramshq.com today! We'd love to hear from you!

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