How to Become a Virtual Legal Assistant

Career changeIs there a brand new career just waiting for you?

What exactly is a Virtual Assistant or VA? Simply put, a VA is someone who works remotely, online whether from their home or office. They are independent contractors or employees who work and use technology to deliver services. They provide administrative, technical, social media and creative services to clients.

Virtual assistants specialize in various industries such as marketing, real estate, accounting, law or financial services. Firms often hire virtual assistants to save money. They don't pay for the assistant's equipment (including computers), training, overhead, dues, materials, furniture, office space, taxes (if hired as an independent contractor), parking, or insurance.

What Do Virtual Assistants Do?

As a Virtual Assistant, you can do a variety of tasks. You can become a generalist or specialize in a legal specialty such as bankruptcy, litigation, real estate, estate planning or corporate. The Internet has made it possible to do a wide variety of things remotely, or, “virtually.”

A lot of people hear “virtual assistance” and think only of administrative tasks like typing and answering emails. But the range of tasks VAs do is much broader: There are countless services you can provide virtually. Here is a partial list:
• Email management
• Correspondence
• Answer phones
• Calendar management
• Travel arrangement
• Writing
• Ghostwriting
• Graphic design / creation
• Web design / development
• Researching
• Editing
• Audio / video / photo editing
• Consulting / counseling / coaching
• Bookkeeping
• Copywriting
• Marketing / Promotion
• Social media management
• Project management
• Customer service
• Transcription
• Programming
• App development
• Data entry
• Legal: Prepare litigation, estate planning, bankruptcy, corporate, real estate, family law, immigration and other practice specialty documents, schedule events and calendar management for law firms and attorneys; audit letters; handle correspondence; intake; anything and everything a legal secretary can do.

Before you close the door to your cubicle, pack up those Bekins boxes and head out for a bold new life, there are plenty of issues you’ll need to consider. A Virtual Assistant can choose two options: you can be an employee for a company or you can start your own business.

Dawn Draper graduated from Davenport University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science and major in Paralegal Studies. “I worked as a paralegal “in-house” for 11-years, she says, “and although I found it very rewarding, I chose a different career path as a paralegal in the wireless telecommunications industry for about one-year. I soon realized I missed working in the legal field, but at the same time wanted to own my own business. In January 2008, I began researching the world of virtual assistants. I was amazed to find paralegals working virtually from their homes for document preparation services and law firms performing the same work, with the physical exception of putting files into a filing cabinet, as I did when working in-house. I made my decision to venture out into the virtual world of law as it seemed cost-effective and time-effective both for the attorneys and me.”

Finding Virtual Assistant Jobs with Employers

Let’s start with the fascinating discovery of Virtual Assistant jobs that are available through employers. This up and coming brand new avenue to positions is rapidly becoming a new career path for legal assistants. According to Virtual Vocations, (www.virtualvocations.com) a website offering a legal category, just a few opportunities you can land working for a law firm or company include:

• Telecommuting Trademark Clearance Paralegal
• Virtual Law Enforcement Transcriber
• Virtual Typist Legal Transcriptionist
• Paid Legal Intern
• Attorney Auditor: Review legal and non-legal invoices for services provided to insurance carriers for corporate legal departments.
• Compliance Paralegal
• Virtual Legal Writer: Work for a publishing firms. Core responsibilities include contributing well-written, informative articles to company's websites.
• Junior Legal Operations Analyst in Phoenix
• Legal Web Content Writer: A staffing agency needs an individual to deliver custom Web pages for customer's website products. Provide quick turnaround and be flexible.
• Freelance Legal Translator/Editor
• Sr. Legal Editor in New York City. Candidates will be responsible for reviewing Practical Law resources related to representing public companies in securities offerings and M&A transactions.
• Paralegal: Conduct legal research and initial case assessments. Requirements include: 5+ years of experience as a paralegal. Experience with transactional, family law, bankruptcy and/or probate experience required.
• Legal Secretary: A boutique civil litigation firm in Downtown San Francisco is looking for a part- time, remote litigation secretary. The ideal candidate will commute to the office once a week.
• Legal Application Analyst in New York City: A staffing agency is filling a position for a Bilingual English and Spanish Analyst. Create, modify, test, and maintain queries against data for topical view databases.
• Trusts & Estates Secretary: A well-known, international law firm in San Francisco is in search of an experienced secretary for 60% corporate and 40% probate.
• Remote Intake Paralegal in West Palm Beach: Must be able to assist on personal injury matter type cases. Work with medical providers to get medical records.
• Virtual Technical Assistance Manager - Nationwide position working remotely.

Starting Your Own Business
You can start your own business as a Virtual Paralegal or Legal Assistant. There are many different services you can offer, but even something more to consider is who would you like to work for? While some legal VAs are generalists and work on a wide variety of tasks, it's easier and more lucrative to choose a practice specialty. Figuring out what specialty you want to focus on can be a challenge, but if you mind-map your passions, interests, experience, and knowledge you can narrow it down relatively easy. Stick with your expertise.

When you set up your own business, you have more flexibility with scheduling, choosing clients, and setting your rates, but you'll also have to find your own clients, set up your business, and pay self-employment taxes. Setting up a virtual assistance business is easy and has relatively low start-up costs.

Some items you'll need to get started with are a phone line or cell phone, a computer, high-speed internet access, a printer, fax, and scanner, and a website to market your business. You can set up a website easily. There are several websites you can use such as WIX or WordPress that are very inexpensive and easy to use. Be sure to make your website as professional and “big-time” as possible. Your clients will judge your expertise on how professional you look. A rinky-dink website is not going to bring you a plethora of clients.

You will also need access to the mainstream software used by most law firms or know these programs inside and out. Just a few are:
• Word
• WordPerfect (Yes, some firms are still on WordPerfect)
• PowerPoint
• SharePoint
• Excel
• Relativity
• iManage
• Compulaw
• Chrome River
• Accounting software
• Summation
• Concordance
• Outlook
• Time Matters
• Essential Forms
• World Dox
• Lexis/Nexis Westlaw
• Juris
• Corporate Focus
• Legal Master
• Workshare, Worksite, ProLaw, Abacus, Adobe Acrobat, Conversion PDF to Word/Word to PDF, iBlaze

You will need to be proficient in styles in Word and up-to-date in the latest versions of almost all software. Don’t know the latest in some of the litigation support software and headed in that direction? Check out the websites. Relativity, (www.relativity.com) for example, has a website where you can take free tutorials.

You will also need to be very familiar with social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat. Your clients may need you to know these. You should have Skype or FaceTime to talk with your clients face-to-face. You need to be able to text them. They should feel they can reach you easily and without stress.

It is important that you understand how to run a business. While you don’t have to have an MBA or draft a five-year plan, you do need to understand cash flow, accounts receivable, billing, accounts payable, how to balance a checkbook and other accounting and marketing functions. Your success doesn’t “just happen” because you set up a website and away you go!
“In order to effectively succeed as a virtual paralegal,” says Draper. “You have at least 5 years of experience in a law firm as a paralegal or secretary with at least a legal assistant or a paralegal certificate. Most attorneys I have spoken or worked with have raised the education and experience issue which is an absolute must to all of them. You must be able to provide services both locally and nationally to succeed. So, you would have to have the ability to follow state and local rules and procedures for any state you provide services to an attorney in.”

Do You Have What It Takes?

BrownNancy Brown of Virtual Gal Friday started her business in 1998.

“I started working as a secretary in 1986,” she says. “All of my experience is hands-on. Most of my background was in oil and gas before starting Virtual Gal Friday. I worked as a solo VA for 10 years and outsourced to the company’s first subcontractor in 2008. The company has grown to having full time in office employees that work with our clients as well as remote employees.

The Upside and the Downside
As always, there’s an upside and downside to every new adventure. In future articles, we’ll explore these. Bottom-line is, done right, you can find yourself in a very lucrative career, whether working for someone else or building your own business. But there is a downside.

Five Warning Flags Before Starting Your VA Business
Don’t be naïve! Here are just five of the “You don’t” zones you need to change to “You do” to create a successful business:
• You don’t have enough money to sustain you while you are building your business. This can be critical. It could take 4 months or more just to bring in your first client.
• You don’t understand how to market for a new client.
• You don’t understand how to bill clients and under or over bill.
• You don’t pay attention to your receivables and your collections are past due.
• You don’t have the expertise or enough experience to carry out the assignments. You are learning at your client’s expense.

Do You Have the Right Personality?

“I think you need confidence and the ability to sell your services,” says Brown. “If this is really something you want to do, you can do it. Make sure those around you support your efforts. Look at what you really enjoy doing and do that. If you don’t have a passion for your business, it turns into a job.”

Have the fortitude to be a great virtual assistant and make your clients love you. I did a little research and here are the 10 top personality characteristics I came up with you’ll need for success:

Ten Ways VAs Can Make Their Clients LOVE Them
1. Care about your client’s company as if it were your own. This isn’t always easy. Caring for your client’s company in subtle but important ways builds trust essential to the long-term VA/Client relationship.
2. Take initiative. Reminding your client that you are there to help, prompting them for tasks coming due, and reminding them when you don’t hear back from them are all ways that you show your client that you “have their back.”
3. Bring fresh ideas to the table. Clients often have set ways of doing things, but you, as a VA can bring them alternative ideas to do business. Stay on top of technological advances, try free trials of innovative new systems, and suggest ways to improve the bottom-line or staying ahead of the competition.
4. Be flexible and juggle priorities well. Clients really appreciate flexibility and a finite ability to juggle priorities. The old “multi-tasking” idiom applies here. You may have several clients coming at you at the same time. It is the same as if you were in the office working for five attorneys on one secretary. Yes, you are working remotely but you still need to juggle priorities.
5. Own mistakes. Mistakes do happen, and we hate it when they do, but they are inevitable. Client’s don’t like it when mistakes happen but they are more forgiving if you own up if the mistake is yours.
6. Don’t take criticism personally. This may sound trite but it is important. It’s business and you are there to get it right. Get over it! Grow up and stop taking feedback personally. Look at it this way… if a client is taking the time to tell you what they don’t like and what they prefer, then they are taking the time to groom you into a better VA. That’s a good thing. When they go radio dead silent and stop issuing ways to improve, they may be shopping for a new VA.
7. Endure isolation: Do you possess the ability to work on your own? Remember: you are working at home. That means that you are not surrounded by colleagues. Sure, your kids may be there, your dog may be running in and out of the house but you may also be isolated. On the other hand, you could be on the phone and that may be enough human contact for you. Can you handle that?
8. Don’t lose your temper: If you’ve worked in a law firm, you know that attorneys and peers can sometimes drive you nuts. Nothing has changed when you work remotely. Are you even- keeled and do you have patience? You will lose the client or lose your job if you lose your temper. It’s that simple.
9. Be a Problem Solver. Ultimately, you are there for your client to solve problems. When an obstacle emerges, don’t just contact your client and ask what you should do. Instead, inform your client of the situation and offer at least two possible workarounds. Select a recommendation and say why, and then ask your client which she prefers. Make life for your client as easy as possible.
10. Bring humor. Be careful not to go overboard and stay professional! However, my mother used to say you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. She sure was right with that one.


Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing. She is a former Administrator at two major law firms and a Los Angeles Paralegal Association Lifetime Achievement Recipient. She previously held the position of Sr. Executive VP in a $5 billion staffing company. She is the CEO of the Paralegal Knowledge Institute and Co-Founding Member of the International Practice Management Association and The Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers. She has been written up in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Daily Journal, and other prestigious publications. She is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award. Her blog, The Estrin Report has been around since 2005. Reach out to her at chere@estrinlegalstaffing.com.

 


7 Steps to Overcoming Public Speaking Humiliation

 J0442332 The other day, I wrote the big reveal about public speaking.  Essentially, I wrote that fear of public speaking is not about public speaking.  It’s a fear of being humiliated.

I offered up 5 reasons why fear manifests itself.  As a speaker for the past 20 some odd years, I like to think that I've experienced it all. Maybe that's true. Until the next time, however, I guess we'll never know!

Today, I’d like to take those 5 “why we’re afraid” reasons and offer up 7 ways to cope.

 1.  In the past, you’ve been publically humiliated.  Welcome to life.We have a primordial reaction to being shunned publicly—perhaps because throughout our lives, it often meant being ostracized from our circle of friends and family. When it happens as a child, before we’ve learned to master critical thinking, the mark of humiliation can become permanent. But only if we allow it.

The famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" certainly is relevant in this instance.  No event defines who you are unless you allow it. You can choose to let an experience define your vulnerability;  choose to allow the past define your future—but that’s a choice. You don’t have to keep yourself safe and sound anymore.  You’re an adult and furthermore, you’re a paralegal or legal professional.  Translated: you can handle anything.

2.  You are self-focused not audience-focused. Instead of concentrating on giving beneficial lessons  to the audience,  we’re focused on getting approval – as if the audience were your mother.  This desperate reach for approval leads to a strong need to be perfect.  (Working with attorneys can really massage that need.)

Here’s the irony:  if we absolutely have to be perfect, we’re going to fail because—and this is not the first time you’ve heard this— being perfect is not ever going to happen.   At what point in your life do you accept that? How do you stop having to be perfect in front of an audience?  Change your purpose from “needing  to get” to “needing to give.”

In the New Model, you are involved with your audience in such a way that the audience, not you, becomes the star.  They feel it, crave it and like it.  When you are a public speaker, you are a teacher.  By creating that shift, a significant change occurs in how you view yourself. When you’re there to give (as teachers and paralegals are), your focus on self-importance vanishes.  Self-importance fuels fear. In this moment, you are not what’s important, it’s the audience.

Here’s the hardest lesson to accept:  You’re never going to please everyone. Someone in the room is bound to not like you. The question you need to answer is:  Is that okay with you?

If not, why not?

3.  Change the paradigm. Ask: what’s the worst that can happen if I forget something—or everything? Will the entire audience boo me?  Get up en masse and walk out of the room? Hardly. In your mind, run through what might happen.  Here's the reality: If  you forget what to say, the worst thing is you won’t be asked back to speak. And what’s the worst thing that could happen from that? Your career will not be over. You’ll have to  find a new group to speak to. The worst thing from that? You’ll discover that “the worst”…isn’t.

I first learned about paradigm changes years ago from my dad long before paradigm shifts were in vogue.  I was 19 years old and urgently needed a car.  So Dad and I went down to the local Chevrolet used car lot to pick out the vehicle that was to announce my social status to the world.  We chose a 1961 white Corvair with a rich red interior (most of you have not heard of this short-lived classic) for a great price of $400.  It was a small car with the motor in the trunk and the trunk where the motor should be.

“It’s perfect,” I sighed.  I drove away, excited, fully liberated, and loving every second of my newfound independence.  Driving down the street, I suddenly spotted a car right in front of me about to make an illegal left-hand turn.  I stepped on the brakes.  Nothing much happened except that my entire life flashed before me.  Two milliseconds later, I ran smack dab into the car in front of me.  The Corvair, with the trunk in the front, motor in the back, curled up, hiccupped and died right there in the middle of the street. 

After exchanging information with the other driver, I hiked over the nearest 7-11 and called my dad. (There were no cell phones in those days.)  Sobbing into the phone, I tried to grasp how the car I owned for a total of 16-½ minutes was now a mere memory.  Nothing could console me.

“Dad,” I wailed while looking at the crumpled mess that was now attracting attention from the entire neighborhood, “I wrecked the car.  I stepped on the brakes. It…didn’t stop! I rear-ended the car in front of me.”  There was a pause on the other end of the phone as my father absorbed this information.  Finally, he said, “Honey, it’s not your fault.  She was in your way.”

He taught me a valuable lesson:  Learn to look at things differently. 

4.  Finally—if you aren’t perfect? People love when speakers acknowledge their own mistakes. Not doing so, however, allows an awkwardness to hover in the room-not exactly good energy-management. So, make a joke about yourself and move on. Your audience will feel what you feel, so the more confidently and nonchalantly you handle an embarrassing moment, the more confident they will feel about you.

5. You didn’t prepare. Practicing is common sense. But too many speakers think their improvisation makes them a better speaker, and often they don’t bother to practice at all.  But even those who fear speaking don’t realize the incredible power of knowing theirmaterial cold. The greatest fear comes from not knowing the material; that your brain will go blank. So, rehearse! Practice looking in the mirror, on the way to work in the car, doing dishes— wherever you can. You will walk on stage full of complete confidence that will be communicated to the audience.

6. You’re mimicking old school speakers: The New Model method tends to mitigate fear because it is about creating energy in the room, being empowered and expressive. Let’s discuss some old ways of public speaking that can bring about fear:

a) Opening with your name and a “thank you for coming” is a bad move.  Most likely, you've already been introduced.  Opening by stating your name puts an emphasis on you, which adds to the fear you already have, and thanking the audience for coming puts you in the weaker position of gratefulness that the audience took time out of their busy schedules just to listen to little ole you. That alone can generate fear.

b) Drowning your audience in too much information while you think they are listening attentively. This approach only emphasizes you and your requirement to get approval which increases anxiety and the necessity to get it right.

c) Believing you must present yourself as a serious intellectual, particularly to an audience in the legal field.  The thought of “having to be” anything is going to jangle your nerves but feeling you must appear important or studious is going to cause you to claw at the windows in a frantic attempt to get out of there quickly. And finally,

d) Standing behind a podium or sitting behind a table – the worst move you can make. Any physical blockade symbolizes an emotional barrier between you and the audience. The more physical and emotional distance between you and your audience, the more nervous you are going to be. Get out from behind and get closer to your audience.

7. You’re unsure about the value of your message. Little else can make us as anxious as being unsure if others want to hear what we have to say. I’m going to be straight with you: make sure you’re talking about something they want to hear. Know your audience.  Do your factual research.  Make sure that you really are giving value. Too many speakers talk above or below their audiences; provide clichés and old or boring material.  They don’t help the audience to see how the material is valuable in their lives. If you think your message is content free, you may be right.

When you know that you’re giving tremendous assistance to your audiences, your mood will soar.  This goes back to the giving vs. getting issue: If you’ve got value to give but you’re still more focused on getting approval, fear will nail you. But giving great value because you can’t wait to give it? You’ll be unstoppable.

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New Survey Shows Paralegal Salaries Going Down

Chasing dollars  
Not so good news out here in the paralegal world. The new 2010 Salary Guide from Robert Half Legal just published, shows that paralegal salaries are dipping. The salary guide is a review of actual starting salaries in 2009 and an extrapolation of these trends into 2010. 

Salaries have dropped from between .02% and 3.7% nationwide.  Senior Paralegals (7+ years) are experiencing a decline from -02.% to -2.8% in large law firms.  Salaries in large law firms for seniors ranged anywhere from $60,750 - $83,500 but are expected to drop to $59,750 - $80,500 in 2010.

The largest declines in salaries seem to be for midlevel paralegals (4-6 years experience) in small law firms of 2.5% or from $38,500 - $51,000 down to $37,750 - $49,500.  The junior paralegal (2-3 years experience) seems to be suffering the most with a drop of 3.7% or from $32,500 - $41,000 to $31,000 - $39,750.  The salaries represented are national figures.  The guide does give a formula to calculate salaries for your region.

The only category that seems to be barely touched are midsize law firms (35-75 attorneys).  These firms show 0.0% - 0.6% decline.

Of course, we have all heard about the drop in attorney salaries that range anywhere from 0.3% - 5.4%. Starting salaries for 1-3 years in a large law from went from $117,500 - $150,750 to $106,00 - $147,750. Even administrator/office managers were affected dropping 0.7% - 3.1%.

In-house paralegals and attorneys were also hit with paralegals seeing a decline of 0.6% to 1.7%.  Senior in-house paralegals dropped from $53,000 - $80,250 to $52,750 - $79,000. So if you thought you might be safer in-house, maybe not.

Trends cited in law firms include offering alternative fee arrangements, improving service levels and fortifying in-demand practice areas.  Corporate legal departments are remaining selective about the projects assigned to outside counsel and performing more work in-house.

Skills and expertise in demand include delivering client services in more cost-effective ways. Case management software most in demand appears to be case management, e-discovery and e-billing software such as Attenex, Concordance, iCONECT and CT Summation.

If you are seeking employment in 2010, be sure not to overshoot your mark but by all means, don't sell yourself too short.  Bear in mind, however, it's virtually impossible to take a huge drop in salary and then expect to move on after that at the salary you were making two jobs ago.  Be smart about taking a new position but don't be so smart that you go hungry!




New 2009 Paralegal Survey Released from IPMA and Incisive Media

Chasing dollars NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Incisive Legal Intelligence, a leading source of business intelligence for the legal profession, in partnership with the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA), today announced the release of the Annual Compensation Survey for Paralegals/Legal Assistants and Managers, 2009 Edition, tracking compensation, billing rates and billable hours for paralegals. More than 250 organizations participated in the survey (180 law firms and 72 law departments), representing a total of 10,613 paralegal positions. The survey has been conducted since 2002. For further information, or to purchase a copy of the survey, visit incisivesurveys.com.

The results of this year’s survey included the following:

  • Overall, the survey indicated decreases in paralegal billable hours and overtime, but small increases in base salary for the survey period.
  • The overall compensation of paralegals in U.S. law firms and corporate law departments decreased slightly when compared to last year’s survey data.
  • Paralegals working in law firms received somewhat higher base compensation increases than their law department peers.
  • Within law firms, the highest paid paralegals continued to be litigation support/technology managers at a median annual base compensation of $121,012 nationally.
  • The average billing rate for most paralegals positions exceeded $175 per hour.

Incisive Legal Intelligence (formerly ALM Research and Altman Weil Publications) offers the legal industry’s most extensive online database of legal market intelligence, as well as syndicated survey reports, including the annual Survey of Law Firm Economics and Law Firm Business Development Survey. ILI is a division of Incisive Media.


"20 Jobs with the fastest-growing salaries"

This new salary analysis comes from Business 2.0 & paralegals are on the list:

"Business 2.0 Magazine identifies popular job categories in which wages are growing the fastest.

[snip]

ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT

1. HR coordinator ($40,200)

2. Paralegal ($39,500)"

It's nice that paralegals made the list, but categorized as "admin support"? Not so much! And what do you think about that $39K salary?


"Give Women A Fair Pay Day"

Think your salary is fair & equitable? Responses might just depend on your gender:

"We’re coming up on Equal Pay Day again. That’s the day in April every year—this year the 24th—when women’s earnings finally catch up with what men made by December 31 of the previous year. Women’s groups, led by the National Committee on Pay Equity, will rally on Capitol Hill to call attention to the issue.

"The pay gap is still a stubborn problem, with women who work full time, year-round making 76 cents to a man’s dollar. Though it consistently polls number one with female voters in election years, politicians don’t seem motivated to do much about it.

"Some people say pay disparities between women and men are an illusion—women just like to choose jobs that pay less because they’re not as risky or have shorter hours. But the data don’t back up these claims [PDF]. Even when researchers take into account such factors as part-time work or time out of the work force to care for kids, the numbers show that men make more. Another problem that just won’t go away is that so-called 'men’s jobs' like plumbing, pay more than 'women’s jobs,' like nursing. That tells us something about what we value as a society, and it’s not women’s work."

Author Martha Burk is a political psychologist and director of the Corporate Acountability Project for the National Council of Women's Organizations.


Salary Range: Paralegals

Just happened to run across the Ask Dr. Salary blog where I found paralegal salaries charted [links in original post]:

"I was reading AboveTheLaw and noticed David's Request for Paralegal Salaries. To help him out, I've posted a few charts from PayScale's Research Center about Paralegal Salaries that he might find interesting to compare against. I used our new Embed tool (see links next to charts in the Research Center) to post these charts on our blog. It's our latest attempt at blog content syndication. Let us know what you think!"


SURVEY: Starting Salaries for Lawyers & Other Legal Professionals Projected to Increase

Good news from this Robert Half Legal survey looking ahead to 2007!

"Average starting salaries for legal professionals in the United States are projected to rise 4.7 percent in 2007, according to the just-released Robert Half Legal 2007 Salary Guide. Larger increases in base compensation are expected for attorneys with one to three years of experience at small to midsize law firms, first year associates and several legal support positions. Research from the annual Robert Half Legal Salary Guide indicates the hiring outlook is positive. Across the nation, corporate governance, litigation, intellectual property and real estate practice areas are generating casework and providing fresh sources of revenue.

[snip]

"'New business development and continued regulatory activities are driving demand for legal professionals with practice area expertise in specialties such as corporate governance, litigation or intellectual property,' said Robert Half Legal executive director Charles A. Volkert, Esq. 'As a result, legal hiring managers are reassessing their compensation packages to attract the best candidates.'

[snip]

"Paralegals can expect average starting salaries to rise 6.1 percent in 2007. The position of senior/supervising paralegal at a large law firm is expected to increase 7.6 percent, to the range of $55,750 to $78,250 annually.

"Average starting salaries for legal administrators and office managers in small law firms are expected to increase 6.3 percent, to the range of $46,000 to $60,000."