As many firms and businesses look to conserve resources and do more with less in order to maintain financial stability, today’s paralegal must be active in assisting them in doing so. Paralegals who have a niche in finances may be called upon to create a financial snapshot of their employers’ income and expenses. However, we must all be mindful of ways to eliminate unnecessary spending in order to maximize profits.
It is imperative that we have an understanding of the strategic plans of our employers. The global legal market demands that businesses have a vision for their futures. As paralegals, we cannot afford to work in isolation; we must look for ways to assist our employers in reaching their financial goals. Many paralegals are wisely utilizing social media to advertise their companies’ services and maintain visibility in what has become a very competitive legal market. It has been noted that blogging is a welcomed strategy tool for advertising services.
It is also important we build strong and trusting relationships with our employers. We must reach out to those in leadership positions and express our commitment to advancing the long-term goals of the company. When meeting with your employer, don’t just offer generic updates on projects and assignments. Rather, express ideas about how to make those projects run even more efficiently. We must make a commitment to deliver results beyond the job assignment so we are seen as valuable contributors to the strategic plan.
While this may seem like a daunting task for some, let’s keep in mind that many of us are already employing these strategies in our personal lives. Indeed, we are only able to maintain our households and communities because of good financial planning and creative thinking. Why not apply these well-honed skills to our professional lives?
Try a few of the many free or inexpensive mobile applications available on the market, as well as Internet tools that can help save money. For example: iBear LLC Savings and Goals, iPiggy and Expense Manager are applications that can be tested at home before bringing them to the attention of your employer.
Another area of financial planning is investing. Because companies are constantly merging with other companies in order to save money and increase income, it is helpful for paralegals to have a strong background in investments. A paralegal with this type of background can make reasonable suggestions for investments and help employers stay ahead of economic turmoil.
We can start in our personal lives by making substantial investments with our retirement plans and our 401k accounts. A financial planner employed with a reputable wealth management firm can provide a clear understanding of your investments. That person can also provide a glossary of investment terms and definitions. When meeting with a financial planner for investment purposes, ask for a risk-tolerance evaluation. This evaluation will make a determination of just how conservative you are, and will provide results to be used as a financial guide for future planning.
When making investments, you have to determine if you are a risk taker. A financial investment planner can also explain which stocks and bonds are considered high risks, and which will provide a high return. Keep in mind, some investments bring losses as well. Most individual investors play it safe and create an investment portfolio that consists of stocks, stock mutual funds, bonds and cash. Some companies prefer a more diversified approach, which includes cash, domestic and international stocks and bonds, real estate and alternative investments.
With this said, investing and financial planning is a paralegal’s paradox. Again, this may be daunting for some, but we have to remember, we have been investing in our retirement plans and our households for years. Why not continue to expand on these skills and bring them to our professional lives?
Today’s economic conditions have caused some alarm in spending, so paralegals must find ways to reduce expenses for our employers. It is inevitable that paralegals have a clear understanding of financial planning and investments. It will allow us to minimize expenses and create income and employment for future generations. •
J.D. Williams is a paralegal in Philadelphia and a member of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals.