Are Paralegals Pursuing Careers in Legal Operations? | MinuteBox Cloud Entity Management

Are Paralegals Pursuing Careers in Legal Operations?

Paralegals are the backbone of any law firm and in-house general counsel department. Tasked with conducting legal research, preparing legal documents, conducting client interviews, and running the day-to-day operations of a law office, no firm can function effectively without talented paralegals providing legal support.

Some paralegals are satisfied with their positions as legal support staff. Others pursue certifications to become professional practicing attorneys. However, many paralegals choose a career in legal operations, or legal ops, as the next step in their career paths.

What exactly does a career in legal ops look like, and how does it differ from a paralegal career? Let’s break down that transition and outline how more paralegals can open new career opportunities for the future.

The purpose of a legal operations team is to help legal teams deliver high-quality services at reduced costs with improved results. They remain focused on helping legal professionals perform their duties with efficiency and proficiency.

On a day-to-day basis, the legal operations team assumes responsibility for all operational tasks of a law firm, or in-house general counsel department. They oversee the duties and responsibilities for all operations that do not require a lawyer’s degree to manage.

You may assume there’s a degree of overlap between the responsibilities of paralegals and a legal operations team. While there are some similarities, here’s the biggest disparity between the two legal support roles.

Some paralegal responsibilities do extend to office administration work. However, most of their duties are related to the management of legal documents for clients.

Many paralegals benefit from using entity management software to streamline many of these workflows. Entity management software is a tool built by legal professionals to help legal talent more efficiently manage legal matters.

Workflows that traditionally take several hours can be completed in a more streamlined manner using entity management software. Paralegals can complete their necessary tasks with greater efficiency and efficacy. Subsequently, they can reinvest their own time and energy into fostering the growth of Legal Recurring Revenue to grow the firm.

Whereas paralegals manage legal documents and some client-facing duties, legal operations are primarily charged with overseeing the administrative aspects of a law firm. This can include items that range from:

  • HR-related tasks
  • IT installation and maintenance
  • Compliance matters
  • Calendar deadlines for important matters

Legal operations managers may also manage any third-party vendor relationships contracted by the firm or by the in-house corporate counsel. They’re primarily concerned with ensuring those services are provided to vendors in the most cost-efficient manner.

Legal operations managers can also benefit from solutions like entity management software. Entity management platforms like MinuteBox are designed with a built-in compliance framework to help legal ops maintain diligent compliance workflows. The platform can help guide legal ops managers as they build compliance programs, ensuring the firm or corporation remains in compliance with jurisdictional laws.

Suppose your paralegals are concerned about career mapping. Assisting their transition into new areas of responsibilities broadens their skill sets and helps them complete more fulfilling work to satisfy their interests.

The biggest reason for these transitions is to master new career skills. Some people want to develop skills as a manager, and a transition to legal operations is one of the best ways paralegals can develop those skills. Being responsible for all the administrative processes within the firm means operations managers gain influence, authority, and managerial skills.

Legal operations managers often begin their careers as paralegals, so the transition from one area to the other is not that uncommon. The current director of legal operations for MGM Resorts International began his career as a paralegal.

The greatest advice from legal ops executives to aspiring paralegals-turned-legal-ops-managers is to voice your aspirations to your superiors. If you work at a law firm, inform the partners that you’d like to make the transition to a legal operations career. If you work for a corporate legal department, share your goals with the in-house general counsellor.

Many paralegals, knowingly or unknowingly, already possess many of the necessary skills to be an effective legal operations manager. By managing client relationships and compliance calendars, paralegals can transfer those managerial skills and help improve legal operations across the organization.

Paralegals who master legal technology, like entity management platforms, have already introduced efficiencies into their operations. During the transition into legal operations, use those experiences to show your merit. Use entity management software to help organize the hierarchy, set date-based deadlines, and implement effective GRC protocols.

As an experienced paralegal, you already have the managerial skills and capabilities to assume legal operations responsibilities. Believe in your abilities and grow your legal career without requiring a law degree.