A leader is only as good as their team. And a team is a reflection of its leader. These two units work together to create success.
Running a successful law firm takes dedication, persistence, and hard work. It also takes a great paralegal team.
But without proper paralegal training, your employees may not have the skills needed to take your law firm to the next level. Investing in paralegal training means investing in the future of your firm.
Read on to discover 11 reasons that making this investment is in your best interest.
The Importance of Paralegal Training
You can't hire a new paralegal and expect them to know exactly what you need. Even with prior experience, your new employee won't understand the specific techniques your law firm uses unless you train them.
Investing in paralegal training ensures that your team works within the law and your office policies. It also equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully fill their position.
Here are a few more reasons to sign your staff up for paralegal training.
1. Improved Communication
This goes for both communications between you and your paralegal, as well as between them and your clients. When it comes to important legal issues, communication is key.
Misinterpreting even a few simple words can create chaos in the courtroom. Paralegal training teaches employees how to effectively communicate using the correct verbiage.
Paralegals will also learn the difference between urgent matters and those that are less time-sensitive. Clients can contact the law office via phone and email. Paralegals can field certain inquiries and pass pertinent information and other questions onto the lawyer.
Training will prepare your paralegals for communicating appropriately with clients and other attorneys if needed.
2. Portrays Professionalism
Your firm's paralegal staff should carry themselves in a professional manner at all times. Training will help teach them what behaviors are and aren't appropriate.
When dealing with clients, paralegals must stay neutral. Becoming personally involved with a client or case is unethical. Giving legal advice of any kind is illegal.
Your paralegal team should portray themselves in the same way you do. After all, they're the voice and face of your firm when you can't be. It's also important they understand what information is confidential.
3. Understanding Their Role
Paralegals have a specific role in every law firm and proper training guarantees they understand their duties. There are certain jobs that, by law, paralegals cannot perform.
- Giving legal advice
- Negotiating legal fees
- Suggesting answers for trial or depositions
If a paralegal unknowingly preps a witness for trial or provides legal advice, both you and the accused will find themselves in hot water. This is considered practicing law without a valid license.
But there are many jobs that paralegals can perform and, when done right, will benefit your law firm. Here are a few examples:
- Report writing
- Organizing files
- Answering phone calls
- Fielding appropriate client questions
- Conducting research
Paralegal training courses teach new hires these skills and ensure they understand the difference between fielding client questions and offering legal advice.
4. The Ability to Take on More Clients
With more help in the office, your law firm can take on more clients. This will increase your workload, but the paralegal will help offset this. More clients also mean more income.
You can also offer paralegal on the job training which means the employee gets to learn the inner workings of your specific office. Every law firm uses different techniques and practices. The best way to train a paralegal to perform according to your standards is to provide the training yourself.
Once the paralegal is well-versed in your office etiquette, you'll have an extra set of hands to help juggle more clientele.
5. Faster Turnaround Time
Like any other business, your clients expect fast results. And if there's one process that can drag on for an eternity, it's the legal one. Whether you're handling divorce cases, accidents, or criminal cases, time is of the essence.
A properly trained paralegal can help research cases, file documents, make phone calls, and schedule appointments. This speeds up the process and could increase turnaround time, which benefits both you and your clients.
Most civil cases take between 2 and 3 years to settle. If appeals or other complications occur, some cases can take as long as 10 years to be resolved. Having a trained paralegal team means sharing the workload and, hopefully, closing cases sooner.
6. Provides a Solid Foundation
All paralegals enter the workforce with a Bachelor's of Science in paralegal studies. This gives them a solid foundation for what the position of a paralegal requires. But more training never hurt.
The world of law is constantly changing. It's important for paralegals to understand and adapt to these changes. A solid foundation is the perfect jumping off point.
Some paralegal training even offers information about new and upcoming changes to the current laws.
7. Teaches Other Useful Skills
A good paralegal has other skills outside of those related to law. A paralegal's job requires interacting with clients, answering phones, understanding your filing and computer system, and research.
Through paralegal training, your hires will sharpen these additional skills and learn how to apply them at work. Taking notes, typing quickly and accurately, and learning new and efficient ways to store and dispose of files are all skills paralegals can benefit from learning.
8. Offers Guidance
As wonderful as it would be for you to walk your paralegal team through every one of your procedures, it's just not practical. You have enough on your plate when it comes to trial prep and client meetings.
Sending your paralegals for training gives them guidance and direction. During training, paralegals can address any questions or concerns. This helps clear up confusion and reaffirms the knowledge they already have.
9. Reduces Confusion
Confusion equals mistakes. And you can't afford to make mistakes. Not when someone's money, life, business, or marriage is on the line.
Proper training for your paralegal team means clear and concise directions. Paralegals will learn exactly how you want things done and what your expectations are.
In time, your paralegal will learn the specific routines and procedures your law office follows. These may differ from previous firms they've worked in, making job-specific training even more important.
When your employees have a clear understanding of their job description and requirements, it means fewer questions, fewer mistakes, and fewer headaches for everyone.
10. Boosts Confidence
A confident employee is a productive employee. When your paralegal is confident in their abilities, it shows. Both in their work and in their interactions with clients.
And what better way to boost confidence that offering additional training and information? The more knowledgable your paralegal team is, the more capable they'll be to handle the workload.
Confident employees are often happier and more positive, which makes for a pleasant work environment. Happy employees accept more responsibility, take on extra work, and are always eager to learn.
Through paralegal training, your employees will find confidence and abilities they never knew they had.
11. Makes Your Job Easier
One of the biggest complaints clients have about their lawyers (besides the cost) is that they don't hear from them enough. Let's face it, some clients need a lot of attention. They're likely dealing with a life-altering situation and require lots of time and attention.
Unfortunately, these clients aren't your only ones. Lawyers are swamped with preparing for trial, gathering information, giving legal advice, and networking. This makes it impossible to answer every client question and update them regularly.
This is where your paralegal staff comes into play. They can easily handle client inquiries about case status and relay messages between you and the client.
Knowing you have a trained, capable paralegal team at the helm, allows you to relax and turn your attention to the more rigorous, legal work.
Invest in Success
Offering paralegal training may seem redundant or unnecessary, but in the long run, its an investment in the success of your law firm. Your business is only as good as its employees.
Paralegals can apply their newfound knowledge and skills to the position, resulting in quality work and happy clients. This reflects positively on you and your office.
Giving your paralegal team the right tools and resources will only increase their chances for success. Check out our custom tabs to help your paralegals keep your files neat and organized.