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Paralegals: Law firms seek specific practice experience

October 26 2010

When it comes to hiring for paralegal positions, knowledge of a specific practice area is the most desirable attribute, according to a survey by Robert Half Legal.

Sixty-six percent of lawyers interviewed cited practice area expertise as the most important attribute for paralegals in the job market today. Technological proficiency ranked second with 13% of the survey response, followed by length of tenure at 7%, associate or bachelor's degree at 7% and paralegal certification or bar association accreditation at 4%.

"When hiring for paralegal roles, prior practice area expertise will bring a job seeker's resume to the top of the stack, particularly if that experience is in a high-demand specialty such as bankruptcy or litigation," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "This is a market that favors specialists over generalists -- job applicants should highlight the specific skills and expertise that make them the ideal fit for a specific job opening so that employers know they will hit the ground running if hired." 

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a business unit of Robert Half International, and includes responses from 200 lawyers at the largest law firms and corporations in the United States.

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