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timer Asked: Nov 28th, 2016

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Prior to this week’s articles, I did not realize there were so many complexities involved in the paralegal/legal assistant field. As the article by McPherson pointed out, the great thing about the ever evolving legal field is it does present many opportunities for career growth in a multitude of directions, which is what I am most excited for.[1]

I believe the most challenging elements for myself in the legal field, will be adapting to changes while still learning my role and avoiding unauthorized practice of law. I have not yet worked in a legal setting; most of my experience with the law is from unemployment hearings where I represented Target when an employee was filing an unemployment claim. I also had to deal with the legalities involved in hiring, firing, and employee relations, but those are completely different job roles than those of an employee in a legal office.

The article by McPherson listed the many job roles that a paralegal can perform and listed the very few that they cannot, she also mentioned that flexibility and adaptability are the two attitudes that can help a paralegal to be successful in his/her ever changing role.[2] I am both nervous and excited to join a field that has so much opportunity for growth, after finishing my degree, however in a field that seems to have experienced rapid changes, I hope that I can find a position that will take the necessary time to help me learn the proper ways to utilize technology and perform substantive work as requested by my firm.

The article by Martinelli talked about unauthorized practice of law (UPL), and how it is difficult to define, with a lot of gray areas.[3] To avoid the issues involved in UPL, I intend to follow the advice presented in the article by Martinelli. In her article, she stated it is more difficult to be found practicing UPL when in a law firm, but to always make sure you are properly represented, during introductions, in communication, and on your business cards.[4] She also mentions her approach to avoiding UPL by ensuring that she does not answer questions that could be construed as advice, her method is procedural questions are okay, but anything that sounds like legal judgment must be passed on to a lawyer.[5] Both of these two pieces of information I found to be sound advice, in addition to using your best judgment and experience, to avoiding unauthorized practice of law.

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