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Like the legal marketing industry itself, the skills needed to be a successful paralegal are constantly evolving. The profession is enjoying a new level of respect as paralegals gain more autonomy taking assignments previously given only to attorneys. These new responsibilities, such as conducting research and interviewing clients, give paralegals more professional challenges and respect within their organizations and enable their firms to be more productive. Most paralegals possess solid negotiation skills, think analytically and have a great knowledge of the law, all critical in addressing client demands. Imagine the value they would bring if they added public relations savvy to their repertoire. The biggest changes in the public relations industry have come from technology, which has made our lives easier in some ways but harder in others. Around-the-clock news cycles, blogs and constant connections keep us moving faster and faster. But it is vital that speed does not interfere with well-thought-out responses to clients and the media. Paralegals and all legal professionals must focus on personal attention and building relationships. Technology makes us more accessible to our clients, but it doesn’t replace the personal touch. For example, e-mail doesn’t create relationship capital the same way that an in-person meeting does. PR has become more global, requiring us to be better versed in international news and travel, more knowledgeable about cultural differences and preferably multilingual. THINKING ABOUT PR?

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