Opportunities for paralegals to work remotely are opening up across the country as courts liberalize the use of digital filings and states broaden the services paralegals can provide.
An article on the American Bar Association website says legal recruiters are reporting “expanding opportunities in the virtual job market. Even in this uncertain time, what has become clear is that the scope of paralegal work is changing with the growing need to provide remote legal services.”
Just last month, Massachusetts became the latest of the now 40 states that allow remote notarization of documents. Several states – most recently New Jersey – “are facing a rush to expand electronic filing options in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says the ABA article.
Particularly in demand, are paralegals with IT skills “to address needs related to data security and the increased pressures of electronic case management and e-discovery.”
“Even the American Bar Association sees the Virtual or V-Paralegal as the super star of the law firm,” says the article authored by Sally Dahlquist, J.D., director of the paralegal program at Inver Hills Community College, Minnesota and attorney Alicia L. Shelton with the national firm Zuckerman Spaeder.
Legal recruiters say the demand for paralegals is only going to grow as more courts reopen, according. The recruiters the authors interviewed, “Anticipate that medical malpractice, worker’s comp, labor and employment areas will really boom; trust and estates, family law, finance law should also grow.”
Although jobs for entry-level paralegals at Big Law and corporations are fewer this year, those with limited experience may find greater opportunities at small offices and with solo practitioners, as well as with non-profits.
However, paralegals with deeper backgrounds who are comfortable working remotely, will find a stronger job market, the authors report. “Experienced paralegals with the ability to navigate the new virtual landscape are well-positioned to be effective liaisons for attorneys, clients, and court.”