Student often thinks that gaining a degree in paralegal studies will make you stay longer hours at work. The answer is that sometimes they do stay, but it all depends on where the paralegal works and the work he is meant to deliver and the deadline that must be met.
There are always these days that seem different in every workplace, the same happens to paralegals in their various offices.
Normal working time we all are used to is 9 am-5 pm, 8 hours the day depending on the organization though. Someone is only considered to work long hours if he or she has exceeded the normal 8 hours’ work time or the organization’s preferred time, if not you are right on track. And when this is been exceeded, the workers are being paid overtime (that is what it is called in industries).
Paralegals sometimes work long hours at work, not all the time though. Since they are assistants to lawyers, it is not every time a lawyer has work to do, a case to handle or a deadline to meet so during this time his assistant will not have to work more than he is supposed to.
But whenever a tough project such as a case comes up to a lawyer and they have to meet deadlines, they sometimes work long hours to meet up with time and settle the case. This is where paralegals work for long hours.
Also, the work environments of a paralegal affect his work time. A paralegal can work in different work environments, which always affect how long the work.
Most paralegal often works in-laws firms, which ranges from small to large. Others do work in the legal department of private corporations or even the government agencies on all levels. Some do work freelancing work and provide paralegal services to so many clients.
A paralegal does work in an office environment, although sometimes they may travel to gather proof or accompany attorneys to trial.
When Paralegals Work Long Hours
In legal work deadline are critically important that’s why paralegal work a long hour or odd hours so that they can meet up.
Longs hours are not always be expected. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal works up to 40 hours weekly and it is only when there is a deadline for a case that they work long hours.
AVERAGE WORKWEEK OF A PARALEGAL
A paralegal commonly works 7.5 to 8 hours each professional day or 37.5 to 40 hours per week, if there are a major event like a trial or a client emergency, then they work 60 to 80 hours a week for months most at times.
The best encouragement on a paralegal’s workweek is the requirement that he bill a certain number of hours to his clients. The total can lengthen his work as he is trying to meet his yearly quota.
In the 19th century, most law firms always charge a set fee for each service an attorney rendered, the fee was limited by the state laws.
In the year 1914, attorney Reginald Heber Smith recommended a system where lawyers will bill the clients for the hours they spent working on lawsuits instead of capped fees per service. This system of billing spread to most laws firms after a 1975 supreme court decision eradicated the capped-fees system.
Paralegal Billable Hours
A paralegal can be asked to bill as many as 2,000 hours per year it all depends on their firms’ preferences. Then the rest of their time is spent on administrative jobs, legal aid work, and some other law firm maintenance tasks.
Billable hours are always tracked in 6-minute rises using detailed paper timesheets and special software.
Close responsiveness is necessary to ensure that no client work — from replying to a client phone call to examining a memo on a client’s case – it is kept off at the timesheets.
A paralegal does find themselves in a tough situation where they have months of intensive and tedious work in clients matter and then followed by a period when clients work are scarce, but they always held responsible for meeting their yearly quotas.
Besides, a paralegal is expected to bill at least 8.3 hours per day as little room left for lunch, breaks and other necessary administrative tasks even office meeting and then he may have to work late to complete them.
There is growing displeasure and problem with the billable hour’s system among the attorneys and paralegals. Most attorneys and paralegals believe that this billable hour’s system inflates and expand the client’s bills because it helps legal professionals to take longer to complete projects, and it dictates charging clients for every work executed, no matter how small.
Attorneys and paralegals also debate that the billable hour’s system cause unnecessarily long workweeks for everyone both the lawyers and paralegals.
Some firms do return a system similar to the 19th-century billing practices and this means they negotiate fixed fees with their clients.
Paralegal Pay For Additional Hours
Some paralegals works do work on an hourly basis and paid overtime for any additional hours they work. Others are paid salary and earn the same amount no matter how many hours they do work in a week.
Self-employed paralegal earns for much longer hours and it depends on the individual arrangement with their employers as well as the relevant state and federal laws.
The average annual salary for a paralegal per pay scale is $46,738 and the top earners can earn more than$80,000.
As with other occupations, salary always varies based on individual skill and experience as well as locations. Paralegal with a technical skill especially database management can be sought after.
The paralegal field is always attractive to many people and it is expected to remain demand as more individuals and corporation need legal services.
Most Paralegals works a normal 40-hour full-time workweek in an office environment and they occasionally work long hours but base on a case-by-case basis.