Make Your Work From Home Dreams Come True
Some paralegals want to work from home, so they can be closer to their children while others like the independence that working from home affords them. Whether or not your work from home position will require you to go into the office from time-to-time ultimately depends on your employer.
In fact, you may never have to go into the office if your employer allows you remote access to the law firm or company’s computer server. In that case, your employer will likely fax you the forms and information you need to work on then you can complete the work and upload it onto the company server. Your employer may also call you or email you with changes or other projects he needs you to complete, rather than having you go into the office.
If you can find employers who will allow you to work 100 percent remotely, you’ll be able to work for attorneys and companies across the United States, rather than having to focus your job search in your local area.
Unfortunately, if you have little or no experience working as a paralegal, you’ll likely have to gain some experience before an attorney or a company will consider hiring you on a work from home, or telecommuting, basis. So, don’t expect to graduate with your paralegal degree or certificate and find a work from home position right away.
In fact, finding a work from home position as a paralegal is going to be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face. The key to being successful in finding a paralegal position that will allow you to work from home is to do your research. Furthermore, be realistic. You may not be able to find a work at home position right away, so be prepared for that eventuality.
One of the biggest hurdles you’re going to face are scams. Do an internet search for work at home paralegal positions, and you’ll likely get thousands upon thousands of hits. There are hundreds of work at home scams run by people who prey on the eagerness of professionals who want to work from home. To ensure you don’t get caught up in a scam, make sure you always research the companies running the ads. You can check out their reputation at the Better Business Bureau, or by contacting the National Association of Legal Assistants or other paralegals and asking if they’ve ever heard of the company.
Additionally, if you find a work from home job posting online that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. However, you can and should check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company, indeed, is listed and, if so, what type of reputation it holds. If you are taken in by a scam, make sure you report it to the United States Federal Trade Commission, the local police, and the Better Business Bureau.
The best way to find a position that will allow you to work from home is to network – get out there and start talking to people. Let them know you’re looking for a position that will allow you to work from home, and find out if they know a law firm or a company that hires paralegals who work from home.
Apply for paralegal positions, and when you get interviews, discuss the possibilities of telecommuting. Some paralegals have found that the best way to work from home as a paralegal is to freelance their services and work for several attorneys or companies at the same time.
In fact, many paralegals who work from home as telecommuters are paid by the project rather than by the hour. In comparison, those paralegals who work in the office are paid by the hour. More and more attorneys are realizing the effectiveness of hiring telecommuting paralegals. First, they pay per project, which is cost-effective. Second, even if you, the paralegal, take twice as long to finish a project because of other commitments, you’ll only be paid one set fee.
If all else fails and you cannot find a work from home position, get the experience you need as a paralegal (if you do not have it already), and consider starting your own paralegal business which will allow you to work from home. The next chapter discusses how you can start your own paralegal business, even on a shoestring budget.
If you work from home, you’ll need all of the same equipment you would have at the office: a phone, a computer, a printer, a fax, a photocopier, perhaps a scanner. The good news is you can purchase a printer/fax/photocopier/scanner combination that will allow you to do everything you need for one relatively low price.
Whether or not you will have to purchase your own software depends on your employer. Your employer may provide you with a copy of the required software, or you may have to purchase it yourself.
Next: Chapter Five: Control your Career: Starting Your Own Business
Previous: Chapter Four: Eligibility and Test Dates 2008
Table of Contents for the Paralegal Career Guide: