It takes a certain kind of person to make it in the law industry and a constant boost in confidence to keep them in it.
If this is your first paralegal job since you studied paralegal courses through Boston, you don’t need to worry. As with any job, nerves are normal, but there’s no reason to stress out about it. You’ve completed your paralegal studies and you’ve been chosen to work at this firm which means that your new employer believes in you.
Regardless of that fact, it’s a difficult and demanding job to be in. And you’ll need a few tips and reminders of how to be (and remain) confident in your first paralegal job. It will reassure others’ in trusting you and your belief in yourself, both of which are important in this industry.
Trust your knowledge
Paralegal courses aren’t easy. The paralegal studies and final qualification took you years to complete and cover a wide variety of legal practices. You’re not stepping into this job unprepared and while there is a difference between theory and practice, you’re never going to cross that bridge without starting somewhere.
Your textbooks also aren’t going anywhere, so you can always refer back to them in your own time if you’re unsure about something to double check that your initial thought was right. Or, you could just ask. But the important thing is that you trust in your knowledge and years of studying.
As you work, you will get the hang of the way your firm and employer likes to do things. You will also realise that applying what you’ve learnt is somewhat easier than having to study and memorise it.
As long as you know what the legal terms are, how they are applied in real-life scenarios and the formats of legal documents you will be writing, you have nothing to stress about. Also, you aren’t exactly alone either.
Refer to your team
As a paralegal, you won’t often be charged with a task on your own. You might be the only one able to perform a specific task, but the case as a whole is usually handled by a team of legal personnel.
Be confident in what you can do and know that you have a team to refer back to. People who will give you constructive criticism and who will be working with you to achieve the desired outcome. You can relax knowing that it’s not entirely on your shoulders and affirmed that your contribution is necessary in order for there to be a success.
With the knowledge you have from your paralegal courses and a supportive team behind you, you have every reason to communicate openly and confidently. Make sure that within the first few weeks you learn everyone’s names. This will help you be assertive when you need to ask about something.
Communication is an integral part of your job and you have every reason to be confident when you communicate. Especially because you’re communicating from a place of “fact” that is supported by evidence.
Rely on your research
This means that in order to be confident and communicate confidently, you need to rely on your research. As a paralegal, you will be conducting research for most of your career. And those research reports are an accumulation of trialled and tested facts that cannot be disputed.
This is why you should stem your confidence from your research. If you communicate your findings to a colleague, you’re relaying the truth that you’ve checked a thousand times before accepting it as fact. There’s literally no room for you to second guess yourself and stay quiet when you are, in fact, correct.
Consider your body language
Your body language can speak for your confidence – no words required. Eye contact, pitch, stance, and movement all contribute to your confidence. And, because it’s possible for your body language to communicate the opposite of what you’re saying, you need to use it to your advantage and exude confidence.
A few body languages tips to use for a boost in confidence include looking directly in a person’s eyes when you’re talking to them, stand and sit up straight when you’re in conversation, walk with your head held high (you hear it all the time, but it actually works), don’t fidget with your hands when you talk to someone (it makes you seem nervous) and work on your handshake.
When you add all of these practices together, along with the fact that you were the one chosen for the job, it’s almost impossible to not have self-confidence in your capabilities as a paralegal.