Paralegals are in demandCalifornia Paralegals

Bordwell & Associates

"Paralegals are the legal profession's energy cells.

They know  what needs to be done and they do it."  




Memo to New Paralegals

Please memorize the following:

  • When you start your career you think you know everything; trust me, you know nothing.

  • In the beginning, you will never be fast enough.

  • There is no such thing as a forty-hour work week.

  • If you don't understand something, ask for clarification, but only ask once.

  • Always have an attorney supervise your work.

  • Respect the experienced paralegal; one day you will have that job.

  • After 2 or 3 months you will think you deserve more money.  If you are still being told what to do and when to do it, don't ask.

  • Welcome to the legal field. Enjoy the ride. "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."  



California Paralegal Requirements

California is the only state that regulates paralegals, requiring those who use the title "paralegal," "legal assistant," "attorney assistant," "freelance paralegal," "independent paralegal," and "contract paralegal" to meet specific educational and/or experience qualifications and continuing education requirements. 

California Business and Professions Code 6450 makes it unlawful for persons to identify themselves as paralegals or legal assistants unless they meet California Paralegal Requirements.

Questions Regarding California Paralegal Requirements 



What Clients Look for in a Paralegal

wave mark Writing and Research Skills 

Law firms expect the best.  Work at improving your spelling, grammar and writing skills.  If you need help, get it. Take a writing class at a local college, search the Internet for writing tutorials. Learn to proofread everything, twice.  

wave mark Attitude, Interest, Enthusiasm, Confidence, Dedication 

Paralegal employers search for high-energy paralegals who are professional, upbeat, flexible and capable of asking for projects.  

wave mark Communication Skills

Perfect yours.  You must have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, why you are doing it and when it is due.  No excuses.

wave mark Organization

Control your workload. Stay organized, learn to prioritize and be aware of time constraints.  Don't take on so many projects that you miss deadlines. 

wave mark Computer Knowledge

Learn how to use the Internet and advanced features on software programs.   Most frequently used programs are Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook,  WordPerfect, Concordance, Summation, Carpe Diem, Westlaw, LexisNexis, PACER.  If you need help, visit our Testing and Resource Center.

wave markEducation and Experience

Most large business, corporate or patent law firms require a bachelor's degree and a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program

People-related law firms such as personal injury, insurance defense, workers' compensation, immigration, family law and probate firms place more value on your talent and less on the degree.  

Note to Legal Secretaries:  

  • If you have a paralegal certificate, some firms will waive their bachelor's degree requirement in recognition of your years of experience as a legal secretary.  

  • If you have a bachelor's degree but lack the certificate, you can work for one year, under the supervision of a qualifying attorney, and meet California's paralegal requirements.  Check it out.

  • If you don't have a certificate or a bachelor's degree think about going to paralegal school.  Chances are good that you will excel in the classes, sharpen your skills, increase your knowledge, and most importantly, enhance your value to your legal employer.

wave mark Evaluations - Your value is based on

  • What you know

  • What you can do

  • How well you do it

  • How long it takes you

  • What it costs the client

  • What it costs the firm

wave mark Salary

Paralegals stay approximately 5-8 years on the same job.  The highest salaries go to paralegals with advanced degrees or those who have a CLA or CLAS credential.  They also have the highest bill rate. 

wave mark Billing

Paralegals need to bill three times the amount of their salary for a firm to be profitable:   one-third salary, one-third overhead and one-third firm profit. Use the Paralegal Billing Rate Calculator below to find your optimum billing rate.

wave mark Have Questions?

Please call or email us your questions.  We are happy to assist you.

Bordwell & Associates






Our conversations are always confidential

Paralegal Billing Rate Calculator

 Are You a Profit Center for the Firm?  Let's find out

Enter an equation (no commas) and click "Calculate"  The result will be your proper bill rate.

Equation:  Annual Salary *3/Annual Billable Hours Requirement

Example:  If your salary is $60,000 and your annual billable hours requirement is 1800,

type  60000*3/1800 in the equation box and click "calculate".

The result should be 100, which is the proper bill rate.

Equation Result

Paralegal Associations


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