Language of the Law

3495956_mlAs with most industries, the legal field has its own vocabulary. To those not familiar with the terminology, it can sound a little strange. For paralegals, though, it’s a part of our everyday world. We can have an entire conversation using acronyms, abbreviations, and cryptic terms that no one outside of the legal field would understand, much like ancient tribes with their shared languages, customs and rituals.

That shared language connects us and makes us feel we’re part of a team.

Just as shared language bonds people together, Speaking Paralegalese evolved from a desire to connect. I get a lot of energy from interacting with others in my field, and I wanted a place where we can get to know each other, share ideas, learn from each other, and celebrate each other’s successes (not to mention commiserate when things go wrong) without the geographic constraints of an office.

Some of the smartest, most articulate people I know are paralegals, and I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you and learning from you – such a diverse, talented group of people!

I wanted a tagline that described the basis for Speaking Paralegalese.

“Learning. Sharing. Growing.”  sums up what I believe to be the three main pillars of paralegal success – they’re what it takes to become, and remain, a professional, accomplished paralegal.

Learning.

Being successful in your career (and, let’s face it, in life) means staying on top of your game. If you work in a specialized area of law, you’re expected to be proficient in all aspects of that area. Working in a more generalized firm can make it even harder to keep up with everything you’re expected to know.

Technology, as we know, is also continually changing, and just keeping up with the technical aspects of your work can be a full time job in itself.

There are many ways to expand your knowledge and improve your skill set, of course, and they don’t have to break the bank. In my next post, we’ll discuss free and very-low-cost ways to access tools you need to work toward your career goals.

Sharing.

Do you ever feel like you’re the only person who can do a task or project exactly the way it needs to be done? Trying to be all things to all people is exhausting, isn’t it?

While you want to be a “go-to” person in your organization, it really doesn’t benefit anyone when you keep all the knowledge to yourself and try to juggle all of the balls. Why not share that knowledge with your co-workers, and create a workspace where everyone is sharing the load?

Sharing our knowledge and experience with our peers has many benefits:

  • It improves the overall productivity of the group or organization.
  • It increases our own productivity.
  • It strengthens the concept of teamwork by creating trust and better communication between co-workers.

In my view, there’s really no downside to sharing. Everybody wins. Knowledge sharing is becoming the big “warm fuzzy” of the workplace.

To that end, I will be sharing loads of information every week that will (hopefully!) help to increase your skill set and move you forward in your career. Guest posts by paralegals and others who are experts in their fields will provide even more valuable information that you can use to learn and grow. And I hope you’ll share your own ideas to add to the discussions!

Growing.

And that brings us to the final, perhaps most important, pillar.

In today’s economic climate, more than ever, you have to commit to continual professional development in order to be truly successful. You have to keep growing, and the trajectory of your career depends in large part on the time and effort you’re willing to put into it.

In every post, I want us to challenge ourselves to grow – as paralegals and as human beings. I want to hear what you’re doing in your career and in your life, and I’ll share what I’m doing in mine.

I truly believe that what we learn from our peers is every bit as valuable, if not more so, than any formal education.

So the question of the day is this:41206579_ml

Are you meeting your current career goals?

Perhaps a better question — do you even have career goals, or a plan for advancing in your career as a paralegal?

Take some time this week to think about some goals for yourself. They can be long term or short term goals:

  • Perhaps learning a new skill (or improving an old one),
  • attending a meeting or seminar that pertains to your field,
  • updating your resume if you feel that the job you’re in isn’t the best fit for you.

I’d love it if you would share your goals in the comments, and we’ll talk about them over the next couple of weeks.

Let’s learn from each other!