Does your job description need a pep talk?
Is your resume really portraying the actual day to day duties that you are responsible for in your job? Even though we know we do a LOT, it is sometimes hard to put that into writing in a descriptive way that really does you justice on your resume…
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about… instead of saying “Maintain files” on your resume… how about something like “Set up and maintain files which are organized chronologically, numerically and/or by subject matter.” Doesn’t that sound a little more detailed and meaningful?
Instead of “Prepared motions for filing”, how about “Pull relevant documents, proofread papers, organize exhibits and create document indices in the preparation of motion filing.”..
Instead of “Prepared for trial”, how about “Assist team with preparation for trial including organizing exhibits, files and all other supporting documents, coordinate trial set-up and logistics, assist attorneys in the courtroom by taking notes, handling exhibits, and marking documents referred to by counsel, assist in the preparation of witness testimony and serve as liaison between trial attorneys and in-house staff.”
Instead of “Maintain calendar.”, how about “Analyze and review court documents to determine and calendar deadlines” or “Monitor calendar to ensure deadlines are met.”
Do you have access to confidential client information? How about saying something like “Managed confidential information with professionalism and unquestionable integrity”
Your resume should be truthful, you shouldn’t lie or say that you did things that you didn’t do… but there are ways to describe things to make them sound more professional and interesting…
The best way to accomplish this is to research job descriptions… you can google things like “paralegal job description”… many paralegals do other jobs as well such as secretary, receptionist, office services, administration etc… Does your job involve answering the phone? try googling “receptionist job description” for some creative ways to describe those tasks. Are you responsible for opening the mail or ordering office supplies? Try googling “office services job description” or “office clerk job description”…
I’ve put together a couple of job descriptions that I found on google for you to check out… pick through them and see what you can use to pep up your resume…
Typical Paralegal Duties by Specialty – Compiled by Barbara Berry, CP, FRP
What is a legal assistant’s job description? from Paralegal Alliance
Organize documents and coordinate document productions. – Conduct the Bates-stamping, redaction, duplication and indexing of documents. Set up and maintain files which are organized chronologically, numerically and/or by subject matter. Work with Practice Support on electronic productions. Under the guidance of an attorney, categorize documents by subject matter, prepare a chronology of facts and create production charts.
Conduct various document searches and factual research. – Create and maintain internal case databases, run searches on internal and external document databases and systems, cull relevant information from a variety of resources such as newspapers, magazines, libraries, case documents and trade associations.
Prepare witness and matter materials for case preparation. – Organize interview memos, digests and other relevant documents for attorney review and case preparation.
Prepare for and attend depositions. – Under attorney supervision, gather and prepare documents relevant to the deponent, organize exhibits, take notes and handle exhibits during the deposition and digest transcripts to summarize highlights of a proceeding.
Motion practice. – Pull relevant documents, proofread papers, organize exhibits and create document indices in the preparation of motion filing.
Court filings. – Work with attorneys and the Managing Attorney’s Office in the preparation and filing of all court documents. Create, bind and distribute both file and courtesy copies. Organize the briefs, exhibits and appendices.
Act as liaison among various internal departments as well as with outside agencies. – Oversee the progress of documents through litigation support departments, order transcripts from reporting services and fulfill requests from outside counsel and others.
Prepare for and attend trials. – Organize exhibits, files and all other supporting documents, coordinate trial set-up and logistics, assist attorneys in the courtroom by taking notes, handling exhibits, and marking documents referred to by counsel, assist in the preparation of witness testimony and serve as liaison between trial attorneys and in-house staff.
The paralegal is responsible for:
- Performing a variety of duties to assist attorneys in all phases of litigation and appeal, including discovery, trial, post-trial and appellate phases. Duties include, but are not limited to:
- Filings: Prepare and file pleadings, briefs, and other documents through electronic filing systems and/or manually at all court levels (trial and appellate), including federal and state courts; conduct Bluebook citation reviews; proofread and edit pleadings; ensure compliance with local rules of procedure; communicate with clerks’ offices when needed.
- Discovery: organize case files; assist in the preparation of discovery requests and responses; review and organize the opposition’s discovery responses; process incoming and outgoing document production; conduct document review; prepare witness materials for depositions; assist in reviewing documents for privilege and preparing privilege logs.
- Case development: conduct fact research; communicate with clients and witnesses; review testimony from depositions and declarations; examine client files obtained from field work.
- Hearings and Trial: prepare binders and other materials for conferences and hearings; assemble exhibits and required documents for trials; coordinate trial details with attorneys and any required vendors or office personnel.
- General Office Management: provide general office management and support to attorneys, including, but not limited to, processing invoices and reimbursements; ordering office supplies; liaising with property management companies and various office vendors; and providing any other attorney support, as requested.
The litigation paralegal position may involve some or all of the following duties:
- Record time and enter into Rainmaker daily
- Prepare conflict check worksheets upon receipt of new cases and set up case files upon firm’s acceptance
- Docket deadlines, client reporting requirements, and events in Rainmaker.
- Draft pleadings, motions, notices, calendar requests, subpoenas
- Draft discovery requests and responses
- Draft affidavits
- Draft case status reports
- Confer with clients/insureds regarding discovery, etc.
- Locate, contact and interview parties, witnesses, and experts
- Prepare medical and event chronologies
- Summarize depositions
- Summarize discovery responses from other parties
- Draft Settlement Agreements and Releases
- Prepare and update indices of pleadings, discovery, and other file materials
- Organize and maintain case file, including discovery and trial notebooks
- Communicate with vendors regarding copying, preparation of exhibits, imaging, etc.
- Perform online research regarding criminal record histories, driving record histories, and civil suit
- Perform legal research
- Cite-check briefs and assist in preparation of supporting exhibits
- Create databases, code documents, and load deposition transcripts into Summation
- Assist with preparations for hearings/mediations/trials
- Schedule mediations and depositions
- Communicate with opposing counsel, co-counsel, clients, insureds, expert witnesses, court personnel, and others, to facilitate progress of cases
- Any other tasks that may be assigned by Management or supervising attorneys.
Following is a list of Essential Duties and Responsibilities found on a Civil Litigation Paralegal job posting:
- Must be professional, organized and pro-active with excellent communication skills.
- Knowledge of Concordance, CaseMap and TextMap is a plus!
- Must be a fast-learner, team-oriented, articulate, proactive, and calm under pressure
- Attention to detail and pride in producing exceptional work
- Proficient with Microsoft Office (including Word, Outlook and Excel) and Adobe
- Experience with litigation applications, including Concordance, CaseMap, TextMap and Lexis/Nexis
- Able to work independently, shift focus and adapt to changing priorities
- Excellent interpersonal, case management, organizational, planning, verbal and written communication skills
- Must manage confidential information with professionalism and unquestionable integrity
- Assist with trial preparation, including preparation of jury instructions, trial exhibits and trial binders
- Experience in preparation and service of subpoenas, pleadings and discovery, summarizing medical records and setting up/ scheduling depositions
- Assemble and file motions and other legal documents with the court
- Thorough knowledge of federal and state court rules and procedures
Essential Legal Secretary functions include:
- Draft, transcribe and type routine correspondence and documents.
- E-filing in various State and Federal courts.
- Maintain files of correspondence and other records.
- Answer telephone and routine questions from clients and staff members and/or route calls to appropriate staff members.
- Schedule appointments, depositions, meetings, hearings, etc. and keep appointment calendar for attorney; make travel arrangements.
- Perform administrative duties such as file opening and closing.
- Receive, read, and route/answer incoming mail/e-mail.
- Draft legal documents and perform other legal administrative assistant duties under the supervision of an appropriate professional.
Responsibilities of Senior e-Discovery Paralegal:
- A successful candidate will have a strong and seasoned knowledge of the procedural aspects of litigation.
- The responsibilities include providing assistance and support for attorneys, clients and co-workers, providing training to attorneys, paralegals and support staff, maintaining a thorough knowledge of company and legal department procedures, and a working knowledge of local, state and federal rules of civil procedure.
- Organize, maintain and assume responsibility for documents, files and records; candidate will be expected to utilize independent judgment in fulfilling this responsibility.
- Records Management
- Candidate will assist in all aspects of litigation, including case management, discovery, motion practice and trial preparation, in conjunction with both in-house and outside counsel, as directed.
- Candidate will perform assigned tasks with minimal supervision.
- Serve as the process owner and System Administrator of Legal Hold and E-discovery systems.
- Develop and deliver training and prepare communications related to Legal Hold and E-discovery processes.
- Collaborate with Legal Business Operations, software vendors and IT support to establish priorities, manage corrections, enhancements, and upgrades of Legal Hold and E-discovery software.
- Perform quality assurance testing for Legal Hold and E-discovery systems.
- Manage Legal Hold server and collection requests.
- Instruct attorneys and paralegals on data collection request and document review roles and responsibilities. Initiate, develop and then implement document/knowledge/file management projects for individual matters and for the department.
- Proficient in matter tracking (i.e. Mitratech Team Connect) and document management systems.
- Proactive; detail oriented; excellent organizational and follow-through skills a must.
- Additional duties will include file maintenance and case management software implementation.
- Act as subject matter expert resource for all legal practice areas such as Commercial, Regulatory and Corporate with legal hold and e-discovery assistance.
Duties & Responsibilities of a Commercial Litigation Paralegal:
- Assist attorneys in preparation for depositions, motions, hearings, arbitration, mediation and trial.
- Monitor court dockets, complying with regulatory agency or court-imposed schedules and orders in accordance with local, state and federal rules and regulations.
- Monitor and coordinate the exchange of exhibits with other parties.
- Perform case law and statutory research, as well as factual research to identify relevant testimony and case documents, draft chronologies, locate potential witnesses, and provide other factual support for pertinent issues.
- Analyze all types of evidence, distilling relevant information needed to support case issues.
- Organize and synthesize information through the preparation of summaries, chronologies, reports, spreadsheets, charts, logs, and coding forms for input into databases, graphs and other usable formats.
- Draft and review routine legal documents, e.g. privilege logs, exhibit lists, interrogatories and responses to interrogatories, subpoenas, declarations, jury instructions and voir dire, certificates of service and bills of costs.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Provides litigation support to the General Counsel, Litigation Counsel and/or Senior Managing Paralegal including collecting, organizing, and producing documents in response to all types of discovery requests including third party subpoenas, drafting written responses to discovery requests, managing litigation calendars and maintaining litigation files
- Conduct research on specific legal issues or topics
- Assist with any questions/legal support needed in the store locations
- Provides case management support, including monitoring and following up on case calendars, filing deadlines, and paper and electronic docket research
- Communicates effectively with other members fo the legal team, store employees, customers, witnesses, opposing counsel and outside counsel
- Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned by the General Counsel, Litigation Counsel and/or Senior Managing Paralegal
Responsibilities for Senior Paralegal/IP Technical Specialist:
Negotiate and Draft Intermediate-Mid-complexity Agreements which requires:
- Excellent skills in assessing an agreement request (risk, third party, purpose) and prepare an appropriate agreement efficiently, with accuracy and attention to detail, and with minimal oversight and editing by signatory attorney.
- Solid legal understanding of Non-Disclosure Agreements and ability to prepare them. Strong understanding on the use of, and ability to draft, MTAs, Consulting Agreements, University Research/Collaboration agreements, and IP-related agreements.
- Reach out to third parties and negotiate legal terms for agreements
Litigation Support with responsibilities to:
- Support patent litigation matters, archive historical matters for future reference, all with a keen perspective on e-discovery issues
- Work with business and R&D teams to track down information, research issues internally
- Liaise with outside counsel
Patent Portfolio Analysis
- Perform patent family searches, review claims & specifications
- Understands Patent Portfolio concepts / Patent Family continuity and relationships between patent documents;
- Patent mapping with some assistance from CMC’s Patent Agent
Organizational Effectiveness, which requires:
- Cross-departmental leadership; ability to help other paralegals when needed
- Ability to prepare personal objectives and tying them to IP team’s objectives Work with clients via multiple routes of communication (phone, in-person, and email)
- Aptitude for trademark portfolio management including research and law updates on trademark practice around the world
- Ability to work with marketing team to obtain required information, specimen, etc.
How many pages should a resume contain for experienced paralegal? I’ve tried to limit mine to 1 page and it’s a huge challenge.
I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have a 2 page resume as long as it contains quality information. My own resume is 2 pages. There is absolutely no way I would be able to make it look nice and professional if I had to cram it all into 1 page.
How would you like to brush up my resume?
Great tips. Thank you.
Thank you Jaimee
Thank you for these great tips.
You are very welcome 😉