How Do I Find the Right Career For Me?

If you’re working on choosing a career, you’re probably confronting the question of “how do I find the right career for me”. Here are 5 things to think about that will help you through the career planning process of finding the right career.

1) Your Hobbies
Think about what you like to do in your free time and what you’re good at. Do you like working with your hands? With your mind? Are you good with people? Do you prefer being alone? Do you coach a team or tutor kids? Spend time outdoors in nature? Do you like numbers? Puzzles? Writing? Particular kinds of video games? There are careers out there that make use of your skills and interests…and sometimes they’re not obvious. As an example, just because you’re a great little league coach doesn’t mean you should be a professional coach. But you do embrace leadership skills, which apply to a variety of careers and can guide you in your career search. Maybe you love music – you can work for an ad agency, or a theater, represent musicians, open a music club, work for a non-profit to get instruments into schools…Or maybe you love sports statistics – you can become an accountant or a mortgage banker or work for a sports team….You just need to do some research to connect the dots.

2) Your Values
What’s important to you? Is it having lots of free time? Lots of money? Having a big family? Following a dream? Living in the city? The country? The suburbs? Living overseas? All of these things play a role in the career opportunities that will fit you and be available to you. For example, if you’re obsessed with the auto industry but are set on living near your ranch in Wyoming, you probably have to choose one or the other. If you want to live in New York City and have five kids, you’re probably going to have to choose a career where you can make a lot of money. To find the right career, it’s important to be in touch with your values.

3) The Type of Life You Want
Do you want a conventional life where you stay on one path, live in one city and settle down young to start a family? Or do you want an adventurous life where you take big risks, chase big ideas, and frequently change cities? The adventurous path may be more likely to blur job and life together. For example, if you’re a war photographer or a rock musician, your career and life kind of become one. If you know you want a conventional life, you can generally rule out careers like these. At the same time, if you know you want an adventurous life, you can probably rule out most office jobs. It’s always possible to be a librarian by day and a traveling cliff diver on weekends, but it really comes down to where you want to find your adventure every day.

4) Your Favorite & Best Classes At School
What classes always felt like fun to you? What classes came to you so naturally that they just seemed easy? Are you great at science? Math? Or do you hate science and math but love English classes? If you hate science and math but love English classes, you can probably rule out careers like doctor, scientist and economist. But you can consider things like teacher, lawyer and other communications-based careers. Analyzing what classes fit you is a great step towards finding the right career.

5) What You’re Willing To Sacrifice
The expression “nothing comes for free” exists for a reason. If you’re a young, corporate lawyer or investment banker getting paid the big bucks, you’re probably going to have close to zero free time. If you’re an airline pilot or a truck driver, you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time away from home. If you want to become a college professor, you’re going to be in school a long time to get that PhD. If you want to be a famous actress, you’re going to have to humiliate yourself at casting calls and tryouts where your talents and looks will be picked apart by a panel of others. What is your threshold for all of this? It helps to ask this question and be in touch with what you’re willing to sacrifice for your career. Sometimes it’s tough to know in advance, but the sooner you can figure it out the more you can avoid the tough discoveries that come from learning your career exceeds your threshold after you’ve settled into a path.

Paralegal Careers – Top Ten Ways to Excel As a Paralegal

You might be interested in the legal profession but do not want to become a lawyer then you might be looking for some other options. There are certain alternative legal jobs which can help you work in this field and get a handsome amount of salary as well.

You might be aware of the paralegal careers. This is one of the best things that you can do in the legal field without being a lawyer. If you are not aware of the paralegal jobs then it is always better that you learn about them before you join this field.

The paralegal is someone who is described as a non lawyer and assists the lawyers in their work. Without them the lawyers cannot perform their work properly.
These professionals are usually popular in the United States in some of the states they are authorized by the government while in the other they are not. Now you might want a good paralegal job description to make sure that you are suitable for this job or not.

You might have to answer a lot of phone calls and emails, a lot of documentation and typing is also required. Other than this, you might also have to perform a research regarding the case of the lawyer and provide him with proper details.

Most of the important works of the lawyers are usually done by the paralegals. So if you are interested in the paralegal careers you need to find out certain ways with the help of which you can excel in this field.

1. First of all you need to make sure that you have interest in the legal terminology and also love to perform research regarding various topics. Other than this, you must also have interest in compiling your findings so that others can read and discuss it.

2. You usually do not require a law degree for being in the paralegal profession. But you must have proper knowledge about the legal procedures.

3. Paralegal salary will be good only if you excel in all the departments. You must be quick and deliver your work on time.

4. If you are interested in working in this field then you must also have a business mentality. You must know how to carry out the business. For this one of the best ways is to go for a business course.

5. Internships are one of the best ways to go ahead in your career. There are various companies which offer internships. Some of them even offer paid internships. This is one of the best things that can happen at the start of your career.

6. If you gather a good experience you will surely offered jobs in the bigger companies.

7. In the beginning you must try to work for the government. This is one of the ways to excel.

8. Being computer savvy is very important to excel in this field.

9. You must be aware of the paralegal requirements of the firm.

10.Take the paralegal careers very seriously.

Divorce – What the Lawyers Don’t Tell You

The statistics on divorce in South Africa are frightening. It appears that divorce in our sunny land is on the upswing along with the recession.

Determine what you already know

The first port of call for most would be divorcees is a good lawyer. What they tell you however, is based on what you tell them. In short, it’s not much good going to see a lawyer and spending all that money on hourly fees just to have them regurgitate what you already know.

You need to sit down and analyse your situation. Are you in agreement with your spouse about the divorce? Will he/she contest the action? Do you have property to split? Do you have children from the marriage?

If you answered yes to the first question you’re home dry, if not, well you need to look carefully at the situation before you appoint an attorney.

Agreement means low legal fees

If you and your current spouse are in total agreement that the divorce take place then you are part of the way. I say part because although you may agree you would both like the divorce you also need to agree on who raises the children and how the property and assets (if you have any) are to be divided before you enter the divorce court.

If you are not in agreement about all of those issues the court will not grant the divorce.

How to determine agreement

My divorce was drawn out for almost two years. Why? Because I didn’t sit down with my spouse and agree the terms for the divorce upfront. Ours was a heated marriage and conversing sanely was proving impossible. Our options included seeking counselling, retaining an attorney or seeking arbitration to settle terms for the divorce. I, wrongly, retained an attorney.

What I should have done was seek arbitration to settle terms. That would have meant that a marriage guidance counsellor or a lawyer would have arranged a neutral territory meeting and assisted us in drawing up an agreement regarding the children, the maintenance and the property and assets. Sensible!

The reality of the situation

What actually happened is that my retained attorney arranged a meeting with my husband’s attorney with both of us present too and proceeded to argue. In this manner they provoked us both into dispute; the meeting fell apart and needed to be rescheduled. My husband came to loathe my attorney and subsequently refused to meet. I became annoyed with the process and alarmed at the rate my costs escalated.

I was billed for every minute of every argument in my attorneys offices. Even those between my attorney and my husbands attorney when we were not present and had not requested said meeting. I was also billed for the times my enraged husband strode into my attorneys office and engaged in ranting at him.

A year and four months and R375 000 later I could ill afford, I fired my attorney.

What happened next?

I sat down and wrote to my husband and offered him everything, the children, the houses, the savings account and the engagement ring. He refused. After his refusal I engaged an empathic female lawyer at a much reduced rate and asked her to approach him directly with an offer.

Hiring a female lawyer was definitely the right approach. He warmed to her empathic nature and wasn’t threatened by her approach. A few days later he agreed to the following terms:

1. That no cause would be cited for the divorce

2. That he could be named as plaintiff

3. That he would have unlimited access to the children to suit his work schedule

4. That I would accept 35% of the assets and award him 65%.

5. That maintenance would be 50:50 for the children and no alimony would be requested.

An unfair settlement?

People close to me thought I was nuts. However, through the drama I had learnt that divorce is not about the assets or the money. It’s about the principle, the pride and the loss of face. If you really want an amicable divorce and a reasonably healthy friendship afterwards you need to remember that.

What was important to me was maintaining the relationship with my children’s father, being well off enough to start again and allowing him to retain his pride.

I achieved what I needed and now am happily remarried watching my two sons grow up with a wonderful new career ahead of me.

In conclusion

Before you even begin the process write down three of the most important things you wish to achieve by divorcing your spouse and work out how best to attain them and how to approach him/her about those items on your list.

Make your spouse a co-conspirator in the process instead of your enemy and whilst your settlement may not be all you dream, you will achieve an amicable divorce and easier settlement.

6 More Alternative Jobs For Lawyers

After repeated requests for more alternative jobs for lawyers, I have decided to add to the previous article 6 Alternative jobs for Lawyers Jobs. These are merely some thoughts which can perhaps get those brain cells working to help you to discover your talents and give some direction as to where you may concentrate your efforts.

o Motivational Speaker

This was motivated by a comment left by an anonymous reader. There could very well be something in the suggestion that lawyers should try public speaking. Look at some of the well known motivational speakers like Les Brown and John Dmytryszyn. What skills do these guys possess? They are comfortable speaking to a large audience, they can tell personal stories of their own unhappiness or discontent, they can speak of overcoming adversity and they can convince you to make the choices they recommend. So they are usually eloquent, persuasive, engaging and perhaps flamboyant raconteurs. I would say that pretty much sums up a fine trial lawyer. Francine Ward is one lawyer who did it.

o Poker Player

Interestingly this was also inspired by a lawyer/commenter who was quite likely speaking tongue in cheek. Now don’t laugh and don’t end up like the compulsive lawyer/gambler Arelia Taveras. The point of this suggestion however is to stress that you can make a living out of something you love and it has been done as evidenced by the story of Greg Fossilman Raymer who rose from relative obscurity as a Patent lawyer to achieve notoriety as the 2004 World Series Poker champion. As Greg himself states on his website, he took from the strengths he gained as a lawyer and applied them to poker.

“If you’re a litigator or do a lot of negotiation, then you have to be able to read people well, and determine when they’re bluffing or lying, and when they’re not. As such, lawyers who have that type of practice, and who do well at it, are probably in a position to quickly become very good poker players.”

o Career Coach

Who better than someone who has been through the rigors of law school and the legal profession to guide attorneys both inside and outside the law. I already mentioned Monica Parker who helps unhappy lawyers careers outside of the law. Julie Fleming-Brown is also a trained lawyer who provides professional and personal coaching for lawyers. You may be very organized or perhaps you notice aspects of the practice that you feel strongly could do with improvement but your firm gives little or no value to your ideas, you may have a gift for organizational or human resource management or you may be an excellent motivator. Instead of holding your head over a stack of files for hours or butting heads with other lawyers in the court room you may be happier helping them to achieve better work/life balance inside or outside the law.

o Legal Recruiter

A legal recruiter with a legal background is often viewed as an asset. Here is a person who understands how the legal profession works, how lawyers think and interact and the needs of law firms. Some of the talents for a career coach may be applied here as well and a legal recruiter with excellent coaching skills will probably gain an excellent reputation and build a great business. Here are two examples of lawyers turned legal recruiters Felig/Lindy Legal and Abacus Legal Jobs. Note they both reject the notion that they just offer employment service. The former emphasizes the breadth of their offerings and the latter relies on the reach of their expertise across the globe with their slogan run by lawyers for lawyers.

o Legal Correspondent

You have seen them haven’t you? Star Jones and Cynthia McFadden come to mind. You take the inside knowledge you have of the law and with your excellent communicating skills you explain the wranglings and machinations of a civil suit, a criminal case or issues concerning judges, lawyers and the esoteric legal community as a whole to the public. Who knows you may even step up and get your own show or an anchor position on primetime TV.

o Private Investigator

Oh yes. I am sure you have read novels where the protagonist is the lawyer turned private eye. They always seem to be down and broke however. So it is likely that most lawyers would view this as a step down but some of us are more than snoops we have strong investigative talents and are quite competent at intelligence gathering with some business savyy to back it up. We are also masters at reading between the lines or seeing through the scam so why not consider this field. You won’t be limited to checking out whether Mr. R and his colleague are spending their lunch hour at the colleague’s apartment but the range is wide encompassing Business Intelligence Gathering, Database Investigations, IP investigations, Civil and Criminal Investigations and more. Michael D. Rothman and Todd A. Carozza both qualified attorneys established their own investigative firm.

Greg the poker player discusses the contribution of both his science and legal background. This is enlightening. Most lawyers already have at least two degrees. If you can harness and leverage the sets of skills you gained and developed in those areas you most likely could find a way to find the job which is ideal for you.

Paralegal Career: Working Like a Lawyer on a Paralegal’s Salary

What is a Paralegal?

Paralegals or legal assistants are the backbone of law firms and corporate legal offices; they practically perform a lawyer’s job – save for the handshaking with clients and the word-sparring in court. This article details a paralegal’s scope of work, compensation, and education and training options to start a career in the legal services.

Paralegal Job Description

Paralegal job duties include the following routine duties that are traditionally part of a lawyer’s responsibilities:

– Assist lawyers in preparing for trials, hearings, closings, corporate meetings, etc.;

– Check facts for verification and complete all necessary research work to ensure the correctness and accuracy of all data that lawyers use in their cases;

– Assist lawyers in preparing legal arguments, in drafting motions and pleadings, and in obtaining affidavits; – Assist lawyers in the actual court trials;

– And other administrative and clerical duties as seen fit by the employer. This may include coordination of the activities of law office employees, maintaining financial records, maintaining legal archives and records, preparing tax returns, etc.

Paralegals basically perform many of the duties of a lawyer, but with certain limitations. Paralegals are prohibited by law to perform any of the following:

– Dispense legal advice to clients;

– Appear in court in the capacity of a lawyer or present a case before the court;

– Set legal fees, etc.

Paralegal Earnings

Average paralegal salary is currently pegged at $46,120 per year, according to the Occupational Employment Statistics’ latest data, with the top earning legal assistants bagging as much as $73,450 annually. The differences in earnings is directly related to training and education, experience on the job, and the size and type of employer. Employment can be found in federal, state, and local government offices, as well as courts of law, and insurance companies; according to OES data, legal offices hire the most number of paralegals, owning 71% of the employment opportunities for trained paralegals.

Paralegal Training Options

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 260 American Bar Association (ABA)-approved programs for paralegal studies. If you are seriously considering a career in the paralegal, here are some options you can take to start on this path:

Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies

Look for community colleges that offer paralegal programs which can be expanded into an associate degree given that you have completed all the necessary coursework for an associate degree certificate.

Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies

You can take your associate degree a notch further by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. If you are a bachelor’s degree-holder in a different field and wish to jump overboard, you can sign up for graduate studies in paralegal studies.

On-the-job Paralegal Training

Yet another option is to look for a law firm that would hire to train their own paralegal. Make sure to take advantage of paralegal programs while you are on the job to ensure that your knife is sharp and you get to advance in this career.

To further advance your training, you can seek for paralegal certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Certified Paralegals or Certified Legal Assistants enjoy better employment opportunities and advancement in the paralegal career.