As I pass the 6-month mark working at Balance, I share with you some of my reflections and key takeaways in my journey as a paralegal so far. The past 6 months has been a steep learning curve and has definitely tested me in ways I never had expected. There has been so much that I have learnt and gained in this time, and I bring to you five of the key insights I have gained from working as a paralegal in the family law space.
- Everyone is fighting a battle – don’t raise your own sword, be kind and empathetic
Family law is a side of law that deals with a very human element of law. We do not deal with large faceless companies and organisations rather mums and dads navigating life after separation or grandparents deciding on their estate plans. When receiving less than enthusiastic responses, it is important to be empathetic, look outside myself and remember not to take things personally. I can only control myself and give people as much understanding and kindness as I would want to be afforded if I was to ever go through a situation like theirs.
- Take initiative and try to limit upward delegation
While it is good to take instruction well and do tasks efficiently, there has also been capacity for me as a paralegal to take initiative, provide suggestions, or to try the next step and offering options instead of waiting to be to be told exactly what to do. Through taking a proactive approach, upward delegation is limited, and processes become more efficient. Not only this, through taking initiative, I have been able to gain confidence, increase my skillset and acquire a far better understanding of family law processes as opposed to completing discrete tasks.
- Be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions
This one may seem obvious, but I cannot emphasise it enough. I have spent (and still do spend) all too much time overthinking and agonising whether to ask some questions, afraid to ask in case it has Pepe and Jono rethinking their hiring decisions. Although, once I actually ask the question, I never regret it. I have learnt so much and at an exponential rate by asking the interesting questions. Being curious has let me gain further understanding, Pepe and Jono have valuable expertise and have offered so much insight that has allowed me to grow not only in a professional capacity but also in a personal one.
- Mistakes happen, own them
No one is perfect, and I am definitely not an exception to this rule, but that didn’t stop me from being absolutely terrified of making a mistake. I remember the first time I made a mistake and my first thought, albeit irrational, was that I was going to get fired. Now I look back and laugh quietly at myself. People make mistakes. I make mistakes. And that is ok, it is part of learning. Before I used to shy away from my mistakes, brush them off and act like they were not mine. When I started taking ownership of them, learning from them, and telling myself I would do better as a result of them was when I truly improved.
- Imposter syndrome is real – mental health and perspective is important
I am still quite young, and this is my first time being exposed to the law and corporate environment outside of an educational context. There are definitely times where I have felt undeserving, unqualified, in over my head, depressed, anxious and stressed. Being able to talk with others and share my experiences in a safe space has been invaluable in helping manage this whether it is talking with trusted friends, family, a therapist or even, for me, in the workplace. Despite the imposter syndrome, as I learn (and continue learning) to trust my ability and continue to grow, I find myself with time, reflection, and perspective, becoming more confident and growing as a person.
Working as a paralegal has been an invaluable journey so far that ultimately has allowed me to grow and flourish in many aspects of my life. I have felt a breadth of emotions upon reflection from fulfilled to challenged to inspired and I wouldn’t change this journey for any other. I look forward to continuing to develop my skills, learn more about family law and can’t wait to see where my journey as a paralegal with Balance leads me.
You can also follow the author of this blog, Lauren Quach on LinkedIn.