What do you hate about being a paralegal?

Many of us have a love hate relationship with our paralegal career. I recently posed this question on LinkedIn and while surprisingly few people said “stress” or “long hours”, the number one complaint related to the dredded billable hour… “timekeeping” or “billing”.  In fact, it was my answer as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand and fully embrace billing as a very critical part of the job. But, I do think that the billable hour hampers my inner Elizabeth Hilton. You don’t always have the luxury of following your instincts when you’re counting your .1s but you learn to work with it.

One thing I noticed is that people for the most part really like being a paralegal. The complaints are pretty minor and are generally ones that could be resolved with a change of firm. Not willing to bill your time? Try a plaintiffs firm or an area other than litigation. Hate filing or other routine administrative tasks? Try a larger firm with more secretarial/administrative support.

Not happy with your salary? Your opportunities for growth? The team dynamic? Perhaps a new job is in order. Of course, thats easier said than done depending on the job market in your area and with so many other issues to consider, these aren’t always deal breakers.

Let us know what you hate (okay hate may be too strong a word, maybe its just something that irks you) in the comments below!

“I hate billable time!! I would love to just work and do what needs to be done without logging every minute. I think it hurts creativity and thinking outside the box.” – L.M.C.

I hate filing. Hate it. Filing makes the baby Jesus cry.” – A.W.

The only thing I hate about being a paralegal is that like many have said telling people you can’t give legal advice.  I repeat that phrase a lot!” – N.L.

The thing that I hate is the low pay that they offer in our profession (at least in the KC area).” – K.P.

Not being considered a member of the team and not being kept in the loop.” – K.M.

The thing I have always hated about being a paralegal is not being treated like a member of the team.” – G.L.

I need to make it clear, that billing is the only thing I do not like and have never liked about being a Paralegal.” – I.C.

Lack of upward career mobility.” – B.E.

Being that this position is my first legal job, they send all of the incoming and out going mail to me. Its my least favorite part of the job, probably because its the menial.” – L.M.

Stress. Long hours. Attorney BS and BS from attorneys.” – B.D.


  • Liza

    I can answer that question with one word: ATTORNEYS!!

  • Although I have high respect for the legal profession and the awesome responsibilities and burdens of the practice of law that most attorneys have, I sometimes wonder why some attorneys rely so much on their paralegals that they forget that many of the decisions that need to be made regarding responses to pleadings are decisions that only the attorney should be making. Attorneys who inadvertently rely on paralegals to make decisions which should ONLY be made only by an attorney, just don’t understand that such reliance on paralegals, places way too much pressure on them, not to mention the stress it causes. No matter how many years of experience any paralegal has, attorneys should not shirk their “decision-making” responsibilities and should provide clear and unequivocal direction to the paralegals they supervise.

  • Kate Bartholomew

    Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy working in the legal field, but I absolutely can not stand when attorneys leave tasks to the last minute and they pile flaming files on my desk. It prevents my ongoing task list from being touched, and results in my being battered with questions as to why certain things aren’t done yet that were assigned to me several days ago. I understand having something fall through the cracks from time to time, but a slew of things on a daily basis can be infuriating. All I ask is that they pay as much attention to the work that that they expect me to.

  • Frank

    End of year closing are the absolute bane of my existence (said the Paralegal still in the office at 1:13 a.m. on December 31). What happened to our winter break?

  • Kathleen

    Hi, what I hate most is being the only paralegal for 3 attorneys and everyone wants everything now!

  • Edward Cantarella

    Typing and mousing kills my hands, low pay, lack of any upward mobility. I seriously am going to go flip burgers or something once my taxes are done for this year. I’ll sell furniture, I’ll be a customer service rep. Anything but paralegal. BTW – work with a relative who is an attorney. Double sucks.

  • Pam

    Most of the things listed above i agree with 100%. I work in a small firm and i am currently the only paralegal for 120 cases(probably more since the last time i counted). I hate that my boss allows potential clients to come back and hire her at any point in time no matter how heavy the caseload is. Things never get done in a timely manner and the staff has to deal with the unhappy clients constantly calling on a daily basis for updates. I could go on for days but im seriously startimg to rethink my career choice as a paralegal.

  • lmcfrp

    If you are on facebook, join us in the Perfectly Paralegal group for a chat if you need help or just want to vent https://www.facebook.com/groups/PerfectlyParalegal/

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