The post-pandemic workforce calls for more versatility in how you can apply your ability to multi-task and serve multiple firms. Doing so could significantly increase your income and give you more work-life balance. Your skills as a paralegal are in high demand, and it is up to you to use the shift to a virtual workforce to create more opportunities to advance professionally and financially.
Whether you’re a veteran at freelancing or you’re accustomed to working for one firm, you can employ the following tips to keep you organized and efficient as you leverage your skill set to offer your services to multiple attorneys.
#1: Stick to a regular routine the same as when working in the office
It can be tempting to have lazy days when working from home, where you may spend much-needed time with your pet or make your favorite recipe but make little progress on your professional tasks. It’s about setting project outlines and calendars and sticking to them.
Because you’re working virtually, you can create blocks of time in your schedule where you’re hyper-focused, and also incorporate blocks where you spend time with your pet or favorite family member. This creates an environment where you’re getting things done and enjoying the flexibility of working from home.
#2: Set up a dedicated workspace
Having a space where you feel the most productive is very important to the virtual work environment. If you have others living with you, privacy is a major priority, as well as being able to go undisturbed while in a meeting or focusing on tasks. Splurge on a quality desk and comfortable chair that you can depend on week after week to support you as you juggle your tasks. The object of setting up the optimal home workspace is about choosing the space where you will work to the best of your ability.
#3: Create a consistent communication protocol
Communication is one of the most important aspects of working virtually. Set up a standing meeting with your liaison to establish your check-in system where you strategize, ask questions, and handle any extraneous details of your deliverables. Your longevity while contracting depends on your ability to communicate effectively and ask for help when you need it. Communication, calendars, and other project tracking tools can help maintain your sanity when juggling multiple multi-pronged projects.
#4: Map out projects in advance
Having a head start on your to-do list is an advantage of working remotely. Since you’re not working in the traditional 9 to 5 in-office environment, you can structure your work the way you desire. Employing project management skills can also help you to improve the quality of your projects. Getting ahead of things by prioritizing and completing tasks in advance will give you more bandwidth to take on more projects in the long run. It’ll also give you time to make those tweaks and catch mistakes well before the deadline approaches.
#5: Focus on niche projects
Specialization in the legal support field is in demand for many firms. When you have a specialized skill set, be sure to highlight it and seek out projects that are looking for paralegals like you. This will build your exposure as well as prepare you for future opportunities within your niche. If you don’t have a niche at this moment, focus on defining it first, then work on building your expertise and training. If you do, maybe there are areas where you can fine-tune your niche to make yourself more marketable.
#6: Select projects that align with your professional goals
Instead of shooting for every opportunity that is hiring a virtual paralegal, establish your goals before you begin looking. Then, you can reference both your professional and specific goals during the interview process as well as when you need motivation during the project completion phase. Seek out other paralegals that have accomplished your goals, or who work within your niche for help.
#7: Understand how to use legal tech tools
Legal tech has ushered the legal industry into a new phase of managing their cases and clients with ease. Many courts and legal agencies are adopting the use of tools as a means of improved efficiency, record-keeping, and accountability practices. Most tech tools incorporate extensive training tools you can use to stay tech-savvy. In some cases, you’ll be introducing tools to firms that desperately need them—which will ultimately add to your overall skillset.
Serving multiple attorneys can be challenging yet rewarding. With many firms automating support tasks using tech tools, be sure to consistently ascertain the training you need to stay in high demand. As the legal field continues to evolve, so does the importance and demand for virtual legal support staff.