When my husband I decided to start a business, we didn't think about the legal aspects of doing so. We didn't realize that purchasing business insurance, getting building permits and making investments all required some type of legal advice. But after speaking to a close friend, who also happens to own a small business, we contacted a business attorney. Now, we have the legal smarts to make the best decisions for our business, as well as the legal representation in case something happens to our company. I hope that you find my blog helpful and informative for your own business. It's a great resource for finding the legal advice, resources and guidance you need to get your company up and running.
Law firms are comprised of many different legal professionals all working in the same building. If you want to get into this field, you have to start at the bottom and spend years working your way up the legal professionals' totem pole. If you have that level of commitment, follow these career steps below.
Interns in a law firm get coffee, make copies, and run odd jobs for anyone that tells them to do something. Some law firms will pay interns, but a majority of them will not. However, it is the first step to getting your feet wet and getting legal experience. It is also a good way to establish your footing with a law firm that generally does not do a lot of outside hiring.
A paralegal-in-training is someone who is currently taking classes to become a paralegal. The paralegal is a paraprofessional and someone who regularly assists the lawyers in completing legal research and compiling documents and legal briefs. When you are in training for this profession, you shadow the actual paralegals and act as personal assistants to them.
Paralegals are a step and a half below the lawyers. They do a lot of the legal grunt work, and often spend their days interviewing possible clients. If they find clients that the lawyers want to take on, the paralegals will draw up the contracts and related paperwork and have clients sign these documents. They may sit in on the first actual meeting between lawyers and new clients as well.
All kinds of lawyers, all levels of representation—that is typically what you find in most firms. Some lawyers may remain with the firm one year, while others may stay for twenty years. It just depends on their field of expertise and their drive to "make partner" with the firm.
Partners are the lawyers at the top of the totem pole in a law firm. They are the ones that get to display their names on the law firm's sign, and the ones whose names everyone says when the law firm's name is said out loud. For example, Briggs, Stratton, and Bruckenheimer means that three lawyers bearing those names are the three partners that own and operate the law firm. All other lawyers working for these partners in the firm are not partners, but employees. Regardless, the partners also practice law and take special interest in cases of possible notoriety.