Career in Law | Blog

7 Qualities Every Great Paralegal Should Have

The competition for paralegal jobs is not getting any easier. To stay ahead of your competition you will need to demonstrate and also develop a set of qualities sought by employers. Here are seven qualities you should have, which will help you succeed in a career in law.


In many ways, some paralegal qualities mirror those of lawyers and being resourceful is no exception. As a paralegal, you will regularly encounter problems and challenges, therefore being able to promptly overcome difficulties and new situations will always be a quality highly appreciated by recruiters. Indeed this is why you often see competency based interview questions related to being able to overcome difficult situations. 


Thinking strategically and employing strategies is often applied in the legal profession not least because lawyers are judged on results delivered to clients. This quality can be applied to many situations including in litigious matters, contract negotiations and even when dealing with a heavy workload. If you can demonstrate that you are a strategic thinker and approach situations in a strategic manner,  this will add considerable value to your overall profile.

Thick Skin

There is no question that the legal profession comes with a high-pressure environment and with a high degree of stress. You will need to be confident and strong enough to deal with demanding lawyers and partners, deadlines on short notice and be able to adapt even when tensions get high. 


Many transactions and activities carried out by law firms are of a confidential nature, so it is not surprising being able to be discreet is required by anyone joining a law firm. If you have not had previous experience in a law firm, demonstrating at least an appreciation of this requirement in a paralegal interview is bound put a smile on recruiters face.


As a paralegal, you will be required to make decisions regularly, if not on a daily basis, therefore, law firms are always seeking decision makers no matter at what level you are at. Law firms are often called upon by their clients to provide swift advice and solutions to problems they are facing, and this can only be delivered if you are decisive and time your decisions right.

Can Do Attitude 

Much similar to the previous point, when clients come to law firms for advice they expect a can-do attitude from lawyers to reassure there are solutions to problems they are facing. You are expected to display the same, so when you are given tasks by partners and other lawyers in the team you tackle and get the job done without complaining or giving up.


As previously noted, the legal profession in many ways is result driven. To achieve results you will need to be tough, be able to hold yourself together in difficult situations and ultimately display a level of persistence. The law firms are seeking achievers and this often associated with being tenacious and resourceful.


Understandably you may feel the expectations are high particularly that you are not a qualified lawyer. However, if you have or at least working towards developing these qualities, not only it will give you a competitive advantage when applying for paralegal jobs but it will also equip you well for a career as a lawyer in the future.


Joe Simmons

Legal recruiter and blogger @purelegaljobs

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