Top tips for hiring a paralegal or legal secretary

So you’ve got to the stage in your business where you need your first, or an additional paralegal or legal secretary? 

This may come across obvious, but sometimes it’s so simple to look past, validate the hire before you make the commitment.

For example based on your size and processes (Sole Practitioner or running a small firm) you may be able to run without one for a little while longer. 

With so much software out there to support business and processes along with outsourced options the need to hire full time employees has slowed a little. 

However, when we do get to the stage of needing a new hire we can go into it with a clear strategy and structure. 

With a paralegal the first question is “are there enough billable hours available for them to pay for themselves” 

So you’re now 100% committed to a new hire. Whether you plan on managing the process yourself or engaging with a third party below are some tips to help with the search process: 

  • Sell the role

Make sure you are selling your business and your brand, when a candidate reads the specification is it a place they want to work? This does 2 things, 1 it prequalifies candidate and 2 naturally rejects those that don’t buy into your business and vision. 

  • Candidate Criteria 

Make sure you set you candidate criteria before advertising the role. Be clear on what it is you are looking for and how you will measure this. 

Something worth considering is “Killer Questions” this will help filter the candidate pool

  1. Location
  2. Education
  3. Training/Qualifications
  4. Experience 
  5. Testing 

By answering 3-5 killer questions you will be able to select the qualifying candidates easier. 

  • Reach

Whether you are managing internally or outsourcing the process there are multiple channels which should be utilised:

  1. You’re own network, set up a referral program and post across your own channels 
  2. National job boards & niche job boards 
    1. For example Reed
  3. Social media 
  • Candidate pool selection

When you have your pool of candidates this is where those Killer Questions come in, though a combination or cover letters, CV’s and killer questions you will be able to shortlist the qualifying candidates much quicker. 

You may also want to consider testing skills that are vital to the role and stay away from Yes, no answers. 

For example “Do you consider yourself to be a well organised individual” becomes “Give me an example of when being organised helped you complete a task or group of tasks on time” 

Test their research, ask them questions about your firm and why they applied, do they know any of your existing customers? 

  • Making an offer

It’s important to have been open and upfront with the compensation and benefits from the advert itself. Try not to show “Competitive salary” 

If you have outsourced the process we recommend taking over at the stage it comes to offer management. At this stage the candidate should be treated like an employee. 

If possible give them a tour of the office and introduce them to some key stakeholders, Management or future team members. 

  • Onboarding 

In an effort to maximise the success of your new hire its important to have a clear onboarding process, from company induction to training and support with clear and scheduled reviews. 

With over 30+ years combined experience in the legal industry, are always on hand for advice and support. 

If you are interested in in expanding your team and would like a free consultation then get in touch today with Robert Foster on 

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