Our Q&A series offers insights about our team, spanning everything from why they decided on a career in legal, to what they’re watching right now.
This month’s Q&A features Juan Jimenez, a paralegal with our Real Estate team.
Q: What initially drew you to the legal industry as a career?
A: In high school, one of my favorite classes was Law 12. The teacher in that class was very engaging and his exercises always involved debates and conversations about legal questions and doing our own research to back up our claims.
As I got deeper into the class, I realized that I enjoyed the act of answering my own questions by doing research, and interpreting rules laid out by the courts in a case and how it could be applied to similar case in a later time.
Once I graduated from high school and attended university for my Paralegal’s degree, I was hooked on law!
Q: What’s the most surprising thing you learn when you started working in the legal industry?
A: I think the most impactful thing I realized when I started working in the legal industry was how relax and open everyone was to being asked questions or offer help when I requested it. Coming straight from university with not much practice experience, it was very daunting taking on new work or assisting with files.
However, I quickly realized that the people around me were always helpful to answer my questions or guide me to the place where I can find my answers. It might not sound like much, but compared to other industries, people in legal industry are very approachable and ready to help out.
Q: What does it mean to be a successful Paralegal?
A: I would say that being a successful Paralegal means that people can rely on you and your work. Lawyers, other Paralegals and clients can look at material that you’ve drafted or research you’ve done with confidence, as it most likely thoroughly researched and edited for accuracy.
It doesn’t mean that a person acting as a Paralegal has to be perfect in all their work. Everyone makes mistakes, but to be a successful Paralegal, one has to be able to recognize their mistakes either prior to sending documents out or having someone else review them and provide feedback.
If a mistake happens, you have to be able to raise your hand up and take ownership of the mistake, learn to fix and find ways to avoid making a similar mistake in the future. In this sense, a successful Paralegal is someone who can produce great work that’s consistent and reliable for everyone on the team.
Q: What’s a piece of advice would you give to young paralegals?
A: I would say to young paralegals that the number one thing to remember is to be okay with making mistakes. In the beginning, young paralegals have to be okay with taking risks and taking on new type of work which might lead to making mistakes.
However, don’t let that discourage you from taking new stuff on and be willing to learn. As well, while its okay to make mistakes, don’t try to cover it up. Own up to your mistake and reach out for help from your fellow paralegals or lawyers to learn from it and avoid making that mistake again.
Q: How has the legal industry changed since you started?
A: When I first started, the firm that I was working at was trying to transition from using paper to a more streamlined paperless system where everything was on the computer (aside from client’s documents).
While this method seemed more natural to me, I saw how the more experience paralegals that had been doing their files on paper were struggling. While switching to paperless was definitely the right move for multiple of reasons, I understood that it was a big change for how things were done in firms around Vancouver.
Especially in law where things don’t change often, I think I entered the legal field in a period of fast and sudden change. From online appointments with clients, to the use of AI powered tools, the legal field is set for another period of fast change and I’m looking forward in seeing how the legal industry adapts to newer technologies.