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Q&A: Opportunities Working As An Independent Notary And Paralegal

Though many legal professionals work full-time for law firms and businesses, others choose to work independently and travel to offer services to clients. The Legal Professionals Section spoke with Angel Kavanaugh of Angel’s Mobile Notary and Paralegal Services in Beaverton, Oregon, about her work as an independent legal professional.

How has being a Notary helped you in your legal career?
As both a Notary and a paralegal, I can provide all the services my clients need in one sitting. Once their documents are completed and signed, I can notarize for them without the need for them to travel elsewhere. That way, they can take care of everything they need regarding documents without having to go around town looking for another Notary.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in today’s economy?
Probably the cost of advertising and getting the word out about services I offer. It seems like advertising costs have risen significantly in today’s market. I advertise on Craigslist and in local coupon books, but I also do a lot of networking, and my best business comes from word of mouth and references from my past clients.

So having a good reputation is very important?
Definitely. You have to deliver professionalism and good customer service — if I say paperwork for a client will be ready in two days, it is. Another important element is confidentiality. Clients are often uncomfortable about the idea of other people finding out about legal issues. I always assure them I won’t share the details of their legal concerns or documents with outsiders.

What are some other ways you build trust with your clients?
I have both E&O insurance as a Notary and business insurance coverage as a paralegal. Luckily, I’ve never had an incident that needed them, but insurance coverage reassures my clients that I’m a legitimate business and not a fly-by-night. A lot of clients ask questions like “What happens if you make a mistake?” It makes them more comfortable when I show them I have insurance coverage.

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