Top 5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Paralegal

Posted April 13th, 2023 by Shona Tischner

Are you in the market for a new paralegal?

If so, it may be time to revisit your hiring process to ensure you’re prioritizing the right criteria.
When conducting a search for paralegals, directors and hiring managers should prioritize essential traits
such as strong multitasking skills and organizational expertise to recruit the best person for your firm or
department’s needs.

This article highlights the top five things to look for when hiring a paralegal.

1. Powerful multitasking skills

Conducting factual research, drafting legal documents, overseeing important cases—paralegals juggle several projects at a time. This makes it crucial to hire a paralegal with strong multitasking skills. During the interview process, be sure to ask candidates about their ability to prioritize tasks, manage their time, and work under pressure.
Take note of your applicants’ answers. The best paralegals can balance multiple tasks without feeling overwhelmed.

2. A willingness to learn

The legal industry is always evolving. This makes it imperative to hire a paralegal who is willing to learn
and adapt on the job. Finding a candidate who is open to new ideas and eager to pick up new concepts
will truly be an asset to your legal team. Make sure you hire someone who isn’t afraid to ask questions
and build new skills.
Bonus points if the applicant is a self-starter. During the interview process, ask questions that can help
you determine whether the candidate is proactive in their approach to self-improvement.

3. Strong attention to detail

In many industries, even a minor mistake can yield serious consequences. The legal field is no exception. And this makes finding a candidate with remarkable attention to detail key. A good paralegal should be able to review and analyze information accurately and efficiently, and take note of errors or other discrepancies throughout this process.

This is also where the candidate’s proofreading skills come in. Aim to find a paralegal who can make certain your legal documents are error-free.

4. A clear and concise writing style

We’ve discussed proofreading. If there’s anything paralegals must have, it’s a seamless writing style. As you know, paralegals are tasked with drafting legal documents, reviewing briefs, and assisting with client correspondence. With that, candidates must recognize the nuances of legal writing. Their writing style should be specific, free from jargon, and understandable to people from all backgrounds.

Curious about your applicants’ writing abilities? Feel free to request a writing sample before extending an offer.

5. Organizational expertise

This may seem like a given, but we’d be remiss not to mention how important it is to hire a paralegal with strong organizational skills. Day after day, paralegals must manage deadlines, documents, and copious amounts of information. Your next hire should be able to keep track of everything—and offer clear communication and effective time management throughout.
Don’t hesitate to ask the candidate how they stay organized in their current role. Dive deep here, and pay attention to how they respond.

In conclusion, the above tips can help you hire the most skilled paralegals in your area. Legal support staff play a key role in any legal department or firm. With the right paralegals on your team, you can streamline your operations and serve clients with the utmost in professionalism. Be sure to consider the full spectrum of your applicants’ skills and qualifications during the hiring process. 

Learn more about attracting competitive legal support staff.

Is your law firm or legal department hiring legal assistants or paralegals?

My name is Shona Tischner, and my human resources background at an international law firm has helped me finetune my recruitment skills over three decades. Today, in my role at Urban Legal Recruitment, I connect directors and HR managers with the legal talent they need to excel. So look no further for access to top-tier legal applicants. I can help hiring managers like you navigate a pool of candidates covering the full range of legal expertise. Please contact me for more information on crafting the perfect job description, or complete our job order submission form with a summary of the position you hope to fill. I look forward to hearing from you!