A paralegal portfolio is a collection of accomplishments that include a résumé, reference list, recommendation letters, performance reviews, writing samples, transcript copies and certificates of achievement, according to paralegal recruiter Linda S. Jevahirian.
Some paralegal education programs require each student to assemble a portfolio prior to graduation. St. Petersburg College, in St. Petersburg, Florida, for example, has students create a portfolio in the program’s first semester, and add to and edit it as they progress through the program. Pleadings, memoranda, course projects, PowerPoint presentations, proof of membership in professional organizations and letters of support are among the elements St. Petersburg College recommends for a paralegal student portfolio.
St. Petersburg College recommends that a graduating paralegal student streamline the student portfolio for professional purposes. A professional portfolio will be representative, not comprehensive like the student portfolio. Each selection chosen for inclusion should represent at least one significant aspect of a paralegal student’s or paralegal’s accomplishments translatable into employability. A paralegal should keep her portfolio up-to-date throughout her career.
A paralegal may present his portfolio in hard copy, contained in a ring binder or report cover, or electronically. St. Petersburg College, for example, has a dedicated online portal to which its paralegal students and alumni upload their portfolio contents. Other paralegals may wish to create their own portfolio websites, or use an online service for that purpose. Even when selecting an online format, a paralegal should retain hard copies of the contents for safekeeping.
Margaret Lucas Agius, a NALA Certified Paralegal, has been writing for and about the legal profession for more than a decade. Her articles have appeared in the "Michigan Bar Journal," the "Michigan Paralegal" and "Facts & Findings." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Detroit Mercy and a Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies from Madonna University.