What were some effective tips or resources that helped you to learn the systems of your first firm? We feel like our firm admin/paralegal is not getting acclimated and not assisting the firm as we hoped. So we want to make sure we’re effectively training her and providing the best resources/tools for success.

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Most first time paralegals are not going to know the life cycle of your practice. I work in litigation and it took a while to catch patterns and where we are in the lifecycle of a case because we aren't just out right taught it in a place like law school. Try being task oriented until she is acclimated. I found that helped for me. I might not have always known what was going on and where things were headed but I could draft a subpoena as a task, I could template a pleading as a task, I could file as a task, I could do a saved search as a task, I could pull case law as a task... Etc. Paralegals don't really get "tools" most of the time - besides a dedicated printer or litigation support department - it's do as your told, be detail oriented and get used to it. Eventually we catch on and will be one of a partners best tools for new associates, that only happens though when we feel we have - some - sense of control and predictability to our job. Lawyers are so busy focusing on their arguments and work that sometimes they forget the best thing they can do is gentle communication until support staff catch on we are learning a whole new world practice to practice and to be honest lawyer to lawyer.

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Clear instruction/guidelines of what is expected. And a couple of weeks to get into the groove for efficiency purposes. But that doesn’t mean making mistakes should be an oversight. No. Sometimes it’s more about the fit. If the paralegal doesn’t want to be there or doesn’t care it will show. Let’s face it, it isn’t rocket science and if he/she isn’t providing the necessary support needed and has been given guidance and knowledge of the expectations, I would say you may want to place the person elsewhere…

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Well it’s nice when they’re awesome. Hope it all works out :)

Something else that might help is having a weekly calendar meeting?! You might already do that, but it definitely helps lay out/set the tone for the week. It could also help with rapport. Have you approached this person and had a convo about how they are doing with work load and just in general? Maybe also ask them how you can help so they can continue to develop/learn.

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We have case meetings twice a month, where at least one meeting is in person, so we can have lunch. We have general convos a couple times of week about how she’s doing but maybe we can ask more about the workload. During the review we asked how can help/support growth and development and received feedback that she just needs more time to get it

We (the paralegals) created a handbook with everything a new hire would need to know from job duties, notes on calculating deadlines and how each attorney likes things docketed, etc. It took a while to put together but there’s now one resource we direct any new hire to. It makes it easy to set expectations. I’ve noticed it takes some time for new paralegals to actually become acclimated to the firm. Clear communication is key. If you need something done a certain way, tell them/show them how you want it done. If you’re expecting something, let them know!

After 16 years of doing this, I can anticipate a lot of things needing to be done but still leave my crystal ball at home sometimes 🤣

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Me and my Attorney go over tasks for the following week on Friday and scheduling everyday. She communicates clearly on what is expected from each task and makes me very comfortable to ask questions. I’m the only assistant/ paralegal on about 90 cases and I had 180 cases alone at one point. Truthfully, the key is to make them comfortable to ask for help. If they aren’t getting it within months, they may not be the best fit.

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Systems as in computer software or the way the office operates? How many years of experience does this person have and what is their background?

Both, how the office operates and the software. At least 7 years of experience. Mainly RE.

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