The Indispensable Paralegal: Your Guide to Getting It All Done

Candess Zona-Mendola

Format: Paperback
Condition: New
Sale price$85.00

A talented paralegal can be the difference between a verdict and a loss. A great paralegal can be the difference between a successful practice and one that barely scrapes by. This is the book for paralegals who want to go beyond great and become so essential, they are indispensable.

Written by Candess Zona-Mendola, a senior trial paralegal who has nearly two decades of experience and has worked on trial teams that have obtained more than $296 million in just verdicts for injured people, The Indispensable Paralegal offers a wealth of insights for getting things done and thriving in a frequently fast paced and often hectic profession.

The Indispensable Paralegal covers a thorough exploration of the different roles a paralegal may find themselves navigating, along with a wealth of practice pointers and career advice. The author shares key lessons she and others have learned in the field and discusses a broad range of important topics, from the things a paralegal needs to know and do during the life of a case to the ins and outs of successful career planning, a discussion on the different fields of law, resources and strategies for effective on-the-job training and continuing education, and legal writing.

For paralegals who want more, and for attorneys who want to get their staff to the next level, this is the book for you.


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Paperback: 362 pages; 1st edition (2019); ISBN: 9781941007877
Publisher: Trial Guides, LLC

Publisher’s Notice





Part One: You, Paralegal

Paralegal Typecasting    

Paycheck, Please!

What an Attorney Needs from You

Paralegal Ethics

Paralegal Effectiveness

On-the-Job Training

Working with Other Paralegals

Stress and the Paralegal


Ten Things I Wish I’d Known


Part Two: Practice Pointers

Practice and Procedure

Navigating the US Court System

Cases from Birth to Death


Discovery, Meet Paralegal


Legal Writing




Part Three: Taking Your Practice to the Next Level


Becoming a Mentor

The Law School Leap      



What Legal Leaders Are Saying

[It’s] a well-written, thoughtful book about how to flourish in a paralegal career. Zona-Mendola shares practical suggestions and wise life lessons alike, creating what I would have not thought possible: an entertaining and educational book for paralegals at all levels of experience.

— Rick Friedman, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and coauthor of Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff’s Guide to Proving Liability

This book is definitely something needed in this world. A book which breaks down what goes through the life of a career paralegal and what is needed to succeed and survive in a profession which is often mistaken as a regular day job. Whether you are a person with little or no experience as a paralegal or someone who has been doing it for a long time, you can appreciate this book.

— Gerard Maglasang, paralegal at at the New Jersey office of Seeger Weiss, LLP

I wish I had had this twenty-two years ago when I first stepped into the legal field. This would have prepared me for all the big and little things I had to face and figure out alone. [It’s]an empowering guide, full of important, need-to-know information. For those of us who want to enhance our skill set to become a ‘indispensable paralegal,’ this is a must-read book… READ IT! Keep it at the corner of your desk, as one can learn various tricks of the trade from Candess Zona-Mendola.

— Denise G. Ramirez, trial/mass tort paralegal at the Heard Law Firm, PLLC

We finally have a great book for the real forces of nature in the practice of law—paralegals. This book is a must-read for paralegals. It probably wouldn’t hurt for lawyers to read it as well.

— Charla Aldous, has over 250 jury trials under her belt with over $1 billion in verdicts, member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, six time Plaintiff’s Lawyer of the Year, and champion to the injured who did it all while raising four incredible kids

Every successful attorney we know owes much of their success to hard-working, dedicated paralegals. This is such a wonderful and informative book; it’s a must-read for anybody who is, wants to be, or works with paralegals.

— Nicholas Rowley and Courtney Rowley, coauthors of Running with the Bulls, have won over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for injured plaintiffs

Candess shares what it takes to get a case ready from the cockpit. Her book is a practical step-by-step guide to help paralegals understand their important role in the litigation team. A case is only as good as the evidence developed in the pre-suit and litigation process. With this book, paralegals, new and old, can hone their skills in getting a case ready for trial.

— Mark Kosieradzki, author of 30(b)(6): Deposing Corporations, Organizations & the Government

Real paralegals are worth their weight in platinum. But not if you or the attorney you work for thinks of paralegals as secretaries or clerks or coffee automatons—or anything less than skilled, knowledgeable, 100 percent reliable colleagues. Many an attorney wastes their paralegal by ignoring their true potential. Too many paralegals think of themselves as subordinate assistants, and settle into the dreary career of everything that title implies. Candess Zona-Mendola is the remedy. She teaches what paralegals can and should be, and how to get there. I’ve been in many trial-prep strategy meetings where the paralegal was little more than a note-taker, fact-reminder, or custodian of the snack tray. But I also know many great paralegals are working with attorneys who know their value—not as underlings but as skilled, wise colleagues. Start yourself on that path—lawyers on the path of realizing the value a great paralegal (if you’d just let ‘em and encourage ‘em). For paralegals, would-be paralegals, and attorneys, this book is a great first and giant step in the right direction. A paralegal who does not know how to strive to be great is like a lion who thinks he’s a poodle.

— David Ball, author of David Ball on Damages

There are many secrets to winning big verdicts. Here’s one of the most important ones: A great paralegal is more important than a lawyer. Behind every great trial lawyer, there is an equally great paralegal. Really good paralegals make us shine. No one wins big verdicts alone. They help us do our best work. Candess understands what it means to be a great paralegal. She lives and breathes it. Her book can help you become a great paralegal, too.

— Lisa Blue, one of the most influential lawyers in America, has won more than $350 million in record-setting verdicts for her clients. A trial lawyer, philanthropist, and mother of five, Lisa has written five books, four are on jury selection. 

Zona-Mendola captures the essence of what it’s really like to work as a paralegal and provides a road map for how to perform at the highest level. Brilliant and much needed.

— Theresa Bowen Hatch, coauthor of Trial by Woman

Finally, a publication that really provides practical insight for elevating your paralegal skills from good to great!

— Amanda Pierson, associate at Stilwell Trial Law

Candess is truly “worth any four lawyers.” I have very real experience of being part of her trial team twice. And both times, I have witnessed her pulling everyone’s weight, plus fresh baby paralegals with little to no trial experiences. Without a great paralegal, every hour of trial is constant struggle. This is truly one of the best knowledge books on being a paralegal and working in the legal field. Nothing can really express or capture what an amazing superwoman Candess is. She has every one of her colleagues’ utmost respect.

— Caroline Choe, paralegal at the Pillidelphia office of Seeger Weiss, LLP

Candess is an extremely knowledgeable paralegal. She understands the stress of the job, especially during trial, and is always there to assist other teams if needed. She is dedicated, bright, and always finds a way to encourage others to dig a little deeper, rest, replenish their minds, and go back to the assignment at 110 percent. [Her] book brings the true role of a paralegal to light. Our day-to-day job is more than just following a docket or printing out documents. It’s a dedicated craft that takes patience, fortitude, motivation, and a widening skill set to master. Enjoy the read as you begin your quest to become a top-tier paralegal (like Candess)!

— Scott Siegel, paralegal manager at the New York office of Seeger Weiss, LLP