Name: Michelle Hampton
Job Title: Contract Specialist / Corporate Paralegal
Years of Experience: 5
Employer: Self-employed; previously employed as VP Contracts Specialist at IT company
Where: Columbus, OH
Education: AA-AS Degree in Legal Safety & Justice from CSCC (ABA approved)
Other Relevant Experience: Over 10 years of paralegal/business experience
Salary: Use the PayScale Research Center to find median paralegal salaries.
Paralegal Careers – Corporate Paralegal Job Description
The corporate legal field is an well-compensated industry and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal assistant and paralegal jobs are expected to grow quickly over the next several years. In this interview, Michelle Hampton describes her contract specialist/paralegal job description. She explains how she leveraged her legal skills from an entry-level worker all the way to VP of an IT company, and then went freelance. Her certifications and legal job experiences are explained, and she gives tips for avoiding some of the pitfalls in this high-stakes industry. Find out why her career choice is so rewarding, and find the answer to that all important question: how much money does a paralegal make?
PayScale: What is your paralegal job description?
- Managed day-to-day operations of the firm to ensure compliance, cash flows, and to secure future contracts. Proposed and managed budgets. Hired, trained and evaluated an international cross-functional team of employees. Developed procedures and policies. Distributed daily workload to ensure all departments completed work on time. Worked directly with management and consultants to determine pricing points. Ensured excellence in delivery of service to customers. Examined estimates of material, equipment services, production costs, performance requirements, and delivery schedules to ensure accuracy and completeness.
- Certifications (City, Local, Federal) Successfully established US General Services Contract (GSA) for SIN 132-51, State Term Schedule Contract (Ohio) procuring over 400K in revenue first year, $750K second year and beyond. Procured and Maintained Certifications that increased revenues for the company: Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) by State of Ohio, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Encouraging Diversity Growth & Equity (EDGE) Certification by Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Female Owned Business Enterprise (FBE) by the City of Columbus, Ohio.
- Access to Capital Sub-Committee Member for the Ohio Lieutenant Governors Round Table, Department of Development; Small Business Section. Provided consultation and presented at meetings of the Lieutenant Governor with respect to Small Business issues and access to capital for growth in Ohio.
- Contract Management. Drafted, negotiated, and managed all company contracts for software application development, services and materials. Administered change orders, work scope statements, bidding and awarding contracts for services bids and proposals. Actively managed subcontracts with attention to the prevention of potential claims by subcontractors, and prepared documentation to sustain any claims made against work orders, contract and subcontract agreements.
- Sales & Marketing. Achieved SAP level 2 Sales Certification in 2007. Recruited, hired and trained entry-level recruiters and business development international managers. Responsible for managing an international team consisting of Marketing Executives, Internet Researchers, outbound telemarketers and technical pre-sales consultants. Coach and manage this team's activities involving lead generation, marketing campaigns, bids and proposals, demonstrations and closing the sale. Provide pre-proposal and proposal preparation support. Incorporated independent recruiter program to provide specialized IT candidates.
- Corporate Paralegal. Responsible for the handling of legal filings under the supervision of outside counsel, managed compliance/governance of corporate record proceedings, provided assistance to shareholders, dispute resolution, and various legal proceedings associated with the business. Secured $400k in cash flow with a loan modification. Halted a six-year legal expense in cash flow use by filing H1-B applications in-house with supervision of outside counsel for the 2008 and 2009 H1-B cap. Including Visa applications and collaborating with US Senate and Consulate offices.
PayScale: How did you get started as a contract specialist/paralegal?
I was a freelance paralegal at the time and started doing contracts review for the above noted employer. Since I was really good at what I did for them, they offered me a full time position which led to three years later becoming the VP of the company.
PayScale: What have you enjoyed most about working in paralegal jobs?
I love talking to people – I thrived in the supplier diversity environment and witnessed firsthand the complex barriers and business issues facing supplier diversity programs today. At SoftQuest, I provided out of the box strategic thinking and entry for small businesses by leveraging my ability to network with larger corporations. Prior to the experience at SoftQuest, I worked on various projects in the legal, government, private, and non-profit sector where I honed my interpersonal skills by working with people from various socio-economic strata and a multitude of life experiences. I love people, and using my passion and my expertise in supplier diversity, international business, legal compliance and strong interpersonal and communication skills to win the deal.
PayScale: What are some challenges you have faced as a contract specialist/paralegal?
The politics is the biggest hurdle one will encounter with this type of work. Maintaining one's integrity while having to network/rub elbows with management in government agencies and the private sector. Knowing how to handle egos and pecking orders of any given organization.
PayScale: Do you have any advice for those interested in legal and paralegal jobs?
Stick to your guns, never jeopardize your value system to get into the game. Never lie, cheat, or steal – "always strike a fair deal." Network with all people, from the janitor to the president. Realize that everyone is important part of the team. Be genuine, honest and fair. Leaving nothing for question. It's like those getting a speeding ticket – if you never drive over the speed limit of the law, then you don't have to worry at any time if you are speeding and will get a ticket. Play by the rules even when others don't. You may not get this contract but you will the next because people will remember how well you did in your proposal and how you, even when it cost you, played by the rules.
PayScale: Do you recall any crazy moments from your career as a paralegal?
Getting the types of contracts I was able to secure for the company even though they were labeled as a small, disadvantaged business. Meeting and greeting with such officials as I did. Learning and growing as a person.
How much money does a paralegal make? How does your salary compare to salaries for paralegal jobs? Find out by taking the PayScale Salary Survey.