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Virtual Paralegal Option and Opportunity -
Another in LegalFieldCareers.com Paralegal Strategies Articles to Help You Enhance Your Career!

'You've decided on your Career...
now decide on a Strategy to Secure it!'

Paralegal Opportunities

- The VP Virtual Paralegal
Employee or Business Owner - a Unique Option
by Ric 'Pro Bono' Riccobonno - Director

Legal Field Careers understands that all students/graduates have different ideas, goals and personalities, and LFC wants you to be aware of the many diverse opportunities that await you in your career as one of our Graduates, and they are many more than you may think. LFC hopes you'll find your niche in your new rewarding career, be it as a PL for a Law Firm or to going it alone as an independent. " That's why they make all those flavors of Ice Cream." So in this article we're going to discuss being a VP, no we're not talking about being a Vice President, VP in this sense means Virtual Paralegal, a term some of you may have heard being bandied around of late.

Making that career decision can be frustrating at times and often it is your personality that conflicts with your interest at the time and dictages the direction you seek . When you start out seeking a Paralegal Career you most likely have thoughts of getting that job with a large law firm. In out last article we covered some of the pros and cons of both large and small firms and deciding between the two. This time we're going to give you something extra from the large to small firm job to think about, and that's 'neither'. In our last Article on Paralegal Opportunities we discussed the Sole Proprietor vs the Large Law Firm. This time we're going to talk about becoming a Virtual Paralegal, this basically just means going into business for yourself instead of seeking employment at a firm. Once again, you will be faced with pros and cons, but those pros and cons should be strategically determined by your personality. Before we discuss VP further let me put you to a simple test, in order to benefit from this test you need to follow the instruction exactly.

In less than 3 seconds answer the following question:

Would you rather work for a company or  yourself?”

If you answered ' Yourself' then you're probably ready to begin looking into becoming a VP.

Now one way to look at some of the VP options are to look at advantages it can offer to the other side, in this case how a law firm may view the advantages of hiring a VP.

The Glass is Half Full

- Some of those advantages include:

- They have no below the line overhead costs to cover in hiring you

- The Firm saves money by not providing an office and equipment

- They don't feel the need to invest extra time in training

- Billing advantages - as the Attorneys can bill clients for the time of a contract paralegal - You're Paid only for your actual Services

- It reduces health insurance and other benefits Law Firms have to cover

- Slow periods mean an Attorney does not have to pay the ongoing salary on on a contract for hire basis

An incentive to the VP is that it puts you into ' your own business' category and gets you out of the day-to-day 9-5 syndrome and allows you to work from home. But as we mentioned earlier, this advantage can only be determined by one's own personality.

Being your own business means you may have to develop a task master policy as you would be your own Boss. However, this does enable you to make decisions on what clients/contracts you choose and which ones to pass on. This in itself also brings another benefit. By developing network relations with other VP's you can work out referral arrangements to pass clients you don't have time for or don't want onto someone else and they can do likewise for you. In short it has an 'expanding market share' element to it.

Versatile Expert

By being your own VP boss you can market and promote to those firms in fields of endeavor you find interesting or have more knowledge of, thereby expanding and increasing your value as you go as your experience level will certainly be more vast than if you were working for one particular law firm that focuses on only one category of law.

Flexibility , Control and Scheduling Factor

Being your own boss lets you set your own days/hours etc., something especially valuable if your are single parent. Also, work from home allows you to avoid frequent office politics one commonly faces in a larger law firm. You also have a degree of control over the amount of pressure on you and your family.

Higher Income Potential

Potentially higher Income options are available to you as you can take on as many clients/jobs as you know you can professionally handle. And that is a big one, as taking on too many jobs that you may have trouble fulfilling can only get you in a lot of  trouble and tarnish your reputation. But by being strategically smart about it you have an advantage over being hired as a PL in a high pressure law firm with little to no understanding of being pressured. You are in control of your own Marketing, your own Promotions, your own Networking and your own decisions, and what to charge and when to charge it.

Are you Competitive?

Many Paralegals specialize in particular areas of law. Let's say you have a long time interest in maritime history or entertainment. While either one of these or both are very high standards and sophisticated specialties of law and can carry with them a higher price tag and higher level of desirability they also are competitive eliminators of sorts, meaning, the competition may not be as high. Remember, competition can lower the rate factor if there are more PL's seeking the same category of law so by being competitive, you have an advantage.

The Glass is Half Empty

Now of course, this consideration/option of being your own VP does not go without potential drawbacks or disadvantages either so let's take a look at a few here so you can compare the two and see how all of this matches with your personality.

One very important consideration: You have to feel very comfortable with your knowledge of handling and producing a quality work product. Most people feel it is best to work in an office and get on the job experience, guidance and knowledge before venturing out on their own.

Health Benefits and Pension are an element to consider. Most law firms provide decent benefits, including a possible key to the executive restroom and private elevator; if that's something you place in high value. It is also advisable if you want to pursue the VP option to seek a good liability insurance package for you/your company, that's an extra cost as a VP you wouldn't incur by hiring on at one of those law firms with 20 names on the door you can't pronounce. Plus you'll have to deal with getting your own personal insurance.

You'll have to allocate your own vacation and sick days, but if you are wise and don't look to take on more work than you can comfortably handle you can usually fit those in nicely at your desire.

Now that you've taken a look at becoming a Virtual Paralegal you can see how it all plays out with your character and personality. If you're a go getter, then this may be for you as you'll only be limited to your own marketing efforts and abilities. If you are one that has the strong need for security then the job with a law firm angle may be for you. Just remember though, and it's one thing we haven't covered, as a PL hired at a law firm you are subject to being laid off or fired. As a VP you aren't, you are in control of  your own situation.

Remember this, just because you are a VP or Paralegal for hire, you charge the same as any other VP, it does not mean you reduce your rate, if anything, the vast diverse experience working for multiple different law firms gives you a perception of commanding a higher price tag on your services.

If anyone decides to go into business for themselves as a Virtual Paralegal, please let us know how it goes for you, just becuase you've graduated doesn't mean your forgotten! - Ric


Check out the New Industry
and Technology Paralegal niche article



Examples of human resources
specialties include, but not limited to

Hired legal field careers graduate from lavc www.legalfieldcareers.com
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Now's the time to consider all your options before you graduate. Talk with others in the field of Paralegal you think you may be interested in, talk to those who work for law firms and talk to those in business for themselves, such as Document Filers and Virtual Paralegals, as those questions, your instructors are here to help!

And most importantly, whatever avenue you choose, Ccomplete your graduation and land that GREAT ‘Career'!

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