Offices employing more than a couple of paralegals often designate a manager to supervise the paralegal staff. This paralegal manager, often a paralegal staff member with management capabilities, may be responsible for general department management and human resources, as well as the overall productivity and profitability of a firm’s paralegal program.
A paralegal manager needs good communication skills, not only to interact with paralegal staff, but also to serve as a liaison between the paralegals and attorneys. The paralegal manager is responsible for assigning projects, coordinating the work flow, handling billing and monitoring daily operations. They may also be responsible for maintaining and preparing the department budget.
Human Resources Responsibilities
Paralegal managers also fill a human resources role. They are responsible for recruiting, hiring and training new paralegals. They may conduct employee evaluations and salary reviews, resolve personnel or disciplinary issues and enforce compliance with company policy or labor laws. In addition, paralegal managers provide ongoing training and professional development for the staff.
Productivity and Profitability Responsibilities
Many paralegal managers are involved with long-range planning for the firm. They might work with the attorney and other staff to set goals and annual budgets. This might include providing profitability analyses of the paralegal department, promoting use of the paralegal staff, and suggesting ways to use staff efficiently and effectively.
Many paralegal manager positions are filled by paralegal staff members who show management potential. The International Paralegal Management Association suggests that many paralegals already possess the management skills necessary for the paralegal manager role. They have the required paralegal experience, education and certification. They also are experienced with gathering data, organizing information and preparing reports.