Unlike the common meaning that the paralegal field of activity is connected only to paperwork, the other essential sphere is closely related to psychology, primarily in communication with people. In addition to excellent knowledge of the laws and positions of the courts, a paralegal needs to have such soft skills as developed emotional intelligence, a creative approach, and strategic thinking.
Today, hard skills are difficult to surprise anyone, because the level of education in universities is growing rapidly. Therefore, it is necessary to develop soft skills. According to Harvard University, every successful specialist needs soft skills, hard skills, and networking skills. Emotional intelligence, effective thinking, communication, and management abilities are the most important elements for success. For each legal representative, the very first step when starting a conversation with a person is to establish contact to understand the problem a person is dealing with, and sometimes provide psychological help. That’s why it is necessary to have at least a minimum of basic psychological knowledge and skills.
In addition to knowledge of legislation, to get a job as a paralegal, you need to have a minimum of skills in legal psychology. If you do not have the necessary skills or ability, you can take courses or training, in this way, you will be able to ensure your career growth even if you do not need communication skills at this stage of work.
The Importance of Psychology in Paralegal Job
The application of psychology in the legal field is multifaceted because this sphere of work means communication with people. Knowledge of psychological phenomena allows a paralegal to understand the nature of a person’s behavior, predict the actions, bring the dialogue to the desired level and achieve results. Understanding a person’s nature gives a complete picture of the model of the behavior and helps to determine how to interact with it.
Possession of knowledge in the field of psychology is also significant for achieving personal career goals. Everyone knows that law is one of the most stressful professional fields. Hot deadlines, multifunctionality, constant legislative changes, many legal norms, and high responsibility create many emotional tensions that can disable everyone. If a paralegal does not develop inspiration, motivation, overcoming emotional barriers, resilience, the ability to quickly switch from one issue to another, and overcome psychological stress, there is a risk of losing effectiveness due to psychological burnout. Therefore, understanding yourself is no less important than understanding others. In such cases, psychology also comes to the rescue.
Hence, if you have psychological skills essential for a law job, be sure to add them to your resume and it will give you an advantage when making decisions. However, keep in mind that everything should be grouped correctly and be related to the field of work mentioned in the description of the vacancy. For example, if the vacancy description says that a candidate should have soft skills, you can mention them. To better understand how to build up a resume, check paralegal resumes examples of other job hunters.
Should a Paralegal Have Psychological Ability?
Even though the paralegal activity mostly consists of paperwork, there is still a need for communication with people which could be extremely useful for career growth in the future. Working with people requires mandatory knowledge of the basics of psychology, and the legal field is no exception. Customers are only one side, on the other hand, paralegals could deal with other law representatives, each of which requires an individual approach. So selecting such a job, you might serve as a kind of bridge whose task is to soften all the tough moments and normalize situations.
A law representative should be a person with a special attitude to conflict situations without losing self-control in a stressful situation. Knowledge of the basics of psychology is an additional bonus that guarantees the resolution of a conflict situation in a positive way. It will also be a huge plus if you already have some examples of solving conflicts while looking for a job.
A society requires each law representative to present the position in a meaningful, balanced, calm way, and to listen politely and attentively. A professional paralegal is distinguished by communicative competence, which consists of the skills to establish emotional contacts with others, create trusting relationships and subtly feel and understand the needs of the interlocutor. The job requires the knowledge of psychological skills to understand human nature, free possession of verbal and nonverbal means of communication, the ability to cooperate, work in a team, and developed control over emotions.
At the same time, competitive advantage will be given to the one who develops personal qualities, and emotional intelligence and is faithful to moral and ethical principles. So it doesn’t mean the only you need to know to work as a paralegal is the knowledge of the laws and psychology. To have an opportunity for career growth, make sure you are good with informational technologies, foreign languages, etc.
About the Author
Linda R. Bedford
Linda is a Professional Resume Writer and Military to Civilian Transition Specialist. Her expertise range across a large spectrum of industries. She loves coaching with people and helps job-seekers in transitioning to their next and best chapter.