Example Assignment

Laura Smith’s Discrepancy Analysis

Job: Paralegal

Analysis: On the whole, I think I’m pretty well prepared for this job and the tasks and nature of the work seem like a good fit for my skills and traits.

I have discrepancies in the following areas:

Legal database experience: I don’t have any experience with Lexis/Nexus or any other of the main legal databases. I think I need to get up to speed on how to use these resources so that I can bring that experience and confidence to my applications and interviews.

Area of specialty: I was thinking that I could become a paralegal and then figure out what sort of lawyer I want to be, or that I would just get a good body of knowledge from whatever law the firm I got a job at specialized in. It seems to me now that I should probably figure out what sort of law holds the most interest to me and then direct my search based on that. That way my paralegal work can inform my ultimate goal of becoming a lawyer. This will require some research on my part before moving ahead with finding a job.

Paper filing systems: I’m a little concerned about how to manage complex paper filing systems that haven’t been made accessible for people with visual impairments. Paralegals have to deal with a lot of paper really quickly so I don’t want this to be an issue for a potential employer. I’d like to have a solution ready if it comes up. I should see if there is another AFB mentor, aside from Karen, who might have more experience with this and could give me some guidance.

Education/experience: I’m going to be finishing up my BA this year, so I think education-wise I’m prepared, though I wish I’d thought to try to get some paralegal experience last summer. I wonder if there is a way for me to start part-time somewhere during my last year?

Typing: while no one has overtly said there is a requirement for typing speed, so much communication happens via e-mail in a law office that I think it might be a good idea for me to get my typing speed up just so I can save some time during the day. I don’t think it will make much difference when applying for a job, but it might when it comes to keeping the job I finally land.

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