Candice C. Contreras
Werner & Augsburger
How did you get your job?
Networking. My best friend worked at a law firm that was looking for an office assistant. I submitted my resume but was overqualified. A short time later the hiring manager at that firm shared my resume with the hiring manager at Werner & Augsburger when they were looking for a legal assistant. I was called in for an interview, offered the position and I’ve been there for five and a half years now.
What was the most surprising thing you learned at your job?
I realized how much attorneys rely on their paralegals. Having an organized, efficient, and detail-oriented paralegal is key.
What do/did you like most about your job?
No two cases are the same. There is always some interesting new fact to consider. Also, I really enjoy working with clients and guiding them through the estate planning or probate process.
How do you think this experience has helped you in your career path?
There is no substitute for hands-on experience. I’ve drafted wills, probate, advanced planning, company, and e-filed documents and requested personal service in Bexar County and other counties. I’ve had multiple conversations with clients from start to finish on many projects over the last five and a half years. I feel comfortable and knowledgeable in this field. I’ve also worked with and learned from great attorneys and paralegals, who have guided and supported me on this path.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at this job?
I’ve learned how to listen to prospective clients and ask appropriate questions to accommodate their wants and needs better.
Did your job change in a virtual workplace? How did you interact with your co-workers?
Yes and no. I still complete the same legal tasks from home that I would in the office. However, communication with the attorneys and other staff is more complicated. In the office, I can walk down the hall to get an answer to a question. Now, I must send an email, pick up the phone, or use our online messaging service – and there’s no guarantee the other party will be at their desk. I currently work from home 3 days a week, and in office 2 days a week, so I try to get as much face-to-face interaction as possible during those 2 days.