What is a paralegal?
Paralegals, which are also referred to as legal assistants, are professionals who assist lawyers. The specific job duties of a paralegal may include things such as: conducting research, preparing paperwork for upcoming cases, helping lawyers in trials, maintaining files and drafting documents. This is the ideal profession for people who want a career in law that does not require years of formal education.
How do you become a paralegal?
People who are interested in pursuing paralegal education have two options. They can earn a bachelor’s degree in another field and then get a certificate in paralegal studies. People also have the option of earning an associate’s degree in paralegal studies.
Paralegal programs are typically offered at community colleges. It takes about two or three years to earn an associate’s degree. Legal applications of computers and legal research are some of the typical required courses. Students who choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field should expect to spend four or five years in school. Most certificate programs only take a few months to complete.
It is important to note that employers prefer to hire paralegals that have had a couple of months of experience. For that reason, people should complete an internship or volunteer at a law firm prior to applying to a professional job. A small percentage of employers will hire a person with a bachelor’s degree who has had no experience in law.
How can a paralegal advance?
Paralegals can advance by getting experience. Seasoned paralegals can supervise and delegate to those who are new to the professional. Additionally, some people choose to get a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in paralegal studies.
What is the typical workweek like for a paralegal?
Most paralegals work a standard 40-hour week. However, they may be required to work overtime to keep up with deadlines. The vast majority of paralegals work year-round, but some may be employed on a seasonal basis. Paralegals usually spend most of their day in the office, but they may be required to travel to different law firms.
What other skills are necessary for being a good paralegal?
Paralegals spend a great deal of their time doing research, so a person who is interested in this field must have strong computer skills. They also are required to interact with both clients and lawyers. That is why interpersonal skills are vital to succeeding in this profession. Additionally, paralegals are also required to be detail-oriented and have excellent organizational skills.
What is the job outlook like for a paralegal?
Employers are expected to hire 202,000 more paralegals between now and 2020. The uncertain economy is forcing businesses to cut cost wherever they can. Many firms are choosing to hire paralegals in lieu of lawyers. However, there are a number of factors that can affect the number of jobs that are available for paralegals. For example, people who live in larger cities are more likely to find a job than those who live in smaller towns.
Why should a person choose to become a paralegal?
There are several reasons that people should consider becoming a paralegal. First and foremost, this is not a dead end profession. Law firms will always need paralegals to take care of administrative duties. This profession also allows a person to grow both personally and professionally.
Additionally, paralegals also get to enjoy a nice salary. The starting salary for a paralegal is around $29,000 per year. The median annual pay is around $46,000 per year. Experienced paralegals can make over $74,000 year.