Paralegals are under an enormous amount of pressure. Paralegals work extremely long hours, and they’re often responsible for managing the office, corporate records, the filing systems, and minute book updates. In some cases, the paralegals must even manage the time of the lawyers whose cases they support.
Paralegal burnout is bound to happen for many legal professionals. Everyone has their limit, and, sometimes, people just simply need a break. But when paralegal burnout does occur, it also robs firms or in-house counsel of exceptionally great talent.
So how do you help your talented paralegal team avoid feelings of burnout? What are some alternative methods to reduce clerical work and lift some of the pressure off their shoulders?
Why paralegals experience burnout
If feelings of burnout become overbearing, it’s not uncommon for paralegal turnover rates to skyrocket. Here are some of the main reasons why paralegals feel burned out in their professions.
Inefficient minute book documentation
According to the 2021 Legal Trends Report, the average attorney (including paralegals) bills only 2.5 hours of an 8-hour day to clients. That means nearly 70 percent of an attorney’s or a paralegal’s day is spent managing administrative or clerical work. Paralegals are more likely to be wrapped up in documentation than the practicing attorneys themselves.
Most of these minute book processes are inefficient and outdated. These archaic workflows are part of the reason that paralegals are unable to dedicate more of their own time towards client services. The more interesting parts of legal work are rare experiences for paralegals swamped by arduous corporate documentation processes.
Excessive critique of their work
All documents submitted in court filings or directly to judges are placed under meticulous scrutiny. Attorneys know exactly what they want documents to say when submitted as evidence in any case file. That means there’s very strict and sharp criticism towards the structural integrity of the documents, and those criticisms fall directly upon the paralegal.
Dana Medley-Vogel has been a paralegal for over a decade. She’s had plenty of firsthand experience with criticisms of her submitted documentation. She encourages any new or experienced paralegal to learn how to let those criticisms go and avoid taking it personally.
“It doesn’t mean you didn’t write it well — it means that the attorney may have something different in mind. Or, sometimes you start something and they change their mind by the time you finish it. For some people, that’s very difficult.”
Lack of authority to make decisions
It’s not always the case that people are constantly managing up so they can grow in their careers. But many paralegals do aspire to become fully licensed attorneys. They want to have more input on client relations and charge higher billable hour premiums. They want the authority to call their own shots.
One of the main limitations for paralegals is that it’s their primary duty to ensure all minute books and corporate records are properly documented. When the caseload piles up or attorneys are constantly changing priorities, it’s very difficult to get through all of that paperwork. Paralegals see their dreams slip further and further away, contributing to symptoms of burnout.
Entity management software simplifies document workflows
Since documentation and endless piles of paperwork are among the biggest contributors to paralegal burnout, why not invest in a solution that simplifies the whole workload?
Entity management software helps paralegals sort, file, tag, and organize minute book records in digital cloud-based solutions. The technology is often labeled as a “one minute book room with infinite storage capacity.” Cloud-based servers host all important corporate documents, creating a convenient and secure way to manage the minute book records.
Simply feed all your minute book records into professional scanners. The platform automatically populates these records in the cloud, structuring them in the form of standard PDF-style documents. The servers are protected by biometric and hardware key authentication that’s restricted to only those members of the legal team who have authority to access the account.
Suddenly, the time a paralegal spends searching and sorting through records becomes a fraction of what it once was. If clients have questions about their minute book records, the answers to those questions can be found and shared within a matter of minutes. Paralegals can subsequently spend more of their own time on aspects of the job, like client relations, that they most enjoy doing.
Entity management platforms help attract and retain talent
People are excited about innovative companies. They feel a drive and attachment to the brands that promote more innovative methods of getting things done.
Entity management platforms are the innovative solution to modernize minute book management. By helping firms streamline how they manage client records, the technology helps paralegals and practicing attorneys alike make more efficient use of their schedules.
If your firm can promote itself as an innovative company that minimizes the amount of time spent on documentation, you have a leg up on attracting and retaining top quality talent. Give those innovative go-getters a reason to consider your firm by investing in technology that saves valuable working hours on corporate record keeping. You’ll attract great paralegals and help them avoid the conditions that spur burnout.