Benefits of Training and Development on the Performance of Paralegals in Law Firms

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Justina Olayinka v1
Justina Olayinka
Contributor

 

 

 

 

  1. Introduction

Training and development refer to the process of increasing and enhancing workers’ knowledge, abilities, and skills to carry out a specific job-related task or to practice a profession. It also aims to enhance trainees’ work behavior and performance on the job.[1]

Furthermore,

“Training and development can be defined as educational activities within a company created to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees while providing information and instruction on how to perform better on specific tasks.

Training is a short-term reactive process meant for operatives and process while development is designed continuous pro-active process meant for executives. In training employees’ aim is to develop additional skills and in development, it is to develop a total personality.

In training, the initiative is taken by the management with the objective of meeting the present need of an employee. In development, initiative is taken by the individual with the objective to meet the future need of an employee.[2]

The primary focus of training and development for paralegals in Law firms is on acquiring knowledge, skills, techniques, and practices. Since it can enhance performance at the individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels, training, and development are important pillars of human resource management. Most established law firms are now progressively becoming deliberate with organizational learning and collective growth as the process of increasing one’s capacity to take action. However, Organizational training is the process of transferring knowledge within an organization. This type of training focuses on developing the knowledge base and skills set of employees/paralegals for their current jobs. But it also prepares them for future roles and responsibilities.

  1. Impact of Training and Development on the Efficiency of Paralegals

Most law firms fail to offer their staff ongoing, thorough training programs that will help them improve their performance on the job after hiring and selecting the best candidate for the position.

The standard procedure employed by most law firms is to first attract prospective paralegals to the program and then to choose those who prove to be the best candidates for the advertised position. After selecting the ideal candidate, the firm can offer the paralegal specialised training, which can either take place on the job or at a third-party location.[3]

  1. Types of Training
    • On-the-job training is the most popular training option since it allows paralegals (like litigation officers) to learn while they work and carry out their day-to-day tasks.

Regular training and development can help firms to gain and retain qualified staff, increase job satisfaction, and improve employee morale, as well as staff productivity and commitment.

  • Professional Training and Legal Training

Some law firms admit that professional training must be done on an ongoing basis. Professional training is a type of training required to be up to date in one’s own professional field. Lawyers and paralegals need professional training as laws change periodically. Examples of legal training that firms can embark on include sexual harassment training and discrimination training.

  • Technical or Technology Training

Depending on the type of job in consideration, technical training will be required. Technical training is a type of training meant to teach the new paralegal the technological aspects of the job. In a legal environment, technical training might include teaching someone how to use the computer system to prepare and file documents, sending mail to clients and to colleagues, electronic file docketing and management; communicating with the court registries on the court’s e-platforms; filing of proofs of service of court processes etc.

  • Soft Skills Training

Training for developing or enhancing interpersonal skills is known as soft skills training. It includes instruction on how to communicate better, listen more intently, handle disagreements, and applying emotional intelligence in the workplace. Soft skills training is a combination of social and interpersonal skills like relationship-building, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, development of staff interpersonal, team management, and leadership skills to become more self-assured.

Soft skills can enhance employee oral and written communication skills and improves their presentational abilities, conducting efficient business correspondence, and creating excellent business reports.

  • Team Training/Knowledge Sharing

Team Training and knowledge sharing is a training process that empowers teams to improve their decision making, problem solving, and team-development skills in order to achieve business results. Often this type of training occurs after a firm has been restructured and new and existing staff are compelled to work together or perhaps after a merger or acquisition or the transformation of an existing family owned law practice to an equity partnership. Some reasons for team training include the following:

  • Improving communication
  • Making the work environment more enjoyable
  • Motivating a team
  • Getting to know each other
  • Getting everyone on the same page, including goal setting
  • Teaching the team self-regulation strategies
  • Helping participants to learn more about themselves (their strengths and weaknesses)
  • Identifying and utilizing the strengths of team members
  • Improving team productivity
  • Practicing effective collaboration with team members
  • Conveying the ethos, goals, and aspirations of the firm

4. Benefits of Paralegal Training

Implementing a paralegal training program is an important aspect of making the most of your human capital, gaining a competitive edge, and ensuring staff satisfaction.

  • Giving newly hired paralegals the knowledge they need to assist them acclimate to the jobs they have been given.
  • Improving work performance in order to close the performance gap between the current level and the desired level.
  • Preparing staff members for advancement to more senior roles within the firm.
  • Decreasing absenteeism and labor turnover.
  • Increasing job satisfaction and paralegal engagement.
  • Increasing paralegal motivation.
  • Improving knowledge and increasing profit/remuneration.
  • Increasing paralegal retention.
  • Improving increases productivity, which is one of the organization’s core values.

5. Disadvantages of Paralegal Training

Paralegal training certainly has a large number of benefits, but it also comes with a few associated disadvantages that can become an impediment to successful implementation of paralegal training.

  • High costs and expenses incurred in training staff.
  • May require time away from work.
  • Poor Quality training sometimes can result in poor quality work. If training is inadequate, basically it is either insufficient for the requirements of a role or it does not meet requirements in terms of quality, content, and/or delivery methods.

6. Conclusion

In a nutshell, the initiative of training staff is taken by the management with the objective of meeting the present and future needs of paralegal training and development. It is very important because it establishes the level of the paralegals’ job performance. Once the assessment is completed, the employer can determine the difference between the targeted objective and accomplished goal.  This is where the already mentioned continual and thorough training programme comes into reality. When a paralegal does not meet the anticipated requirements/result, it is the responsibility of the management to see that they receive the appropriate training to help them succeed and enhance their overall job performance.

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For further information on this article and area of law, please contact Justina Olayinka at S.P.A. Ajibade & Co., Lagos by

  • Telephone (+234 1 472 9890), Fax (+234 1 4605092)
  • Mobile (+234 815 0865 646 +234 815 9794 230)
  • Email: jolayinkan@spaajibade.com
  • www.spaajibade.com

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[1]     See https://byjus.com/question-answer/what-is-the-meaning-of-training-what-are-its-chief-objectives/ accessed on 3rd May 2023.

[2]     See DarwinBox Glossary available at  https://explore.darwinbox.com/hr-glossary/training-and-development#:~:text=Training%20and%20development%20refers%20to,to%20better%20perform%20specific%20tasks, accessed on 3rd May 2023.

[3]     Rahul Panchal, A Speech on “Impact of Training and Development on Paralegal Job Performance? (thewordyboy.com) available at https://thewordyboy.com/development-on-employee-job-performance/ accessed on 27th April 2023.

 

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