Paralegals work for law firms, assisting and supporting lawyers. If you want to begin an attorney’s career, you could find work as a Paralegal rewarding. Knowing the process of becoming a paralegal could assist you in the beginning and increase your odds of getting the job you want.
In this post, we will explain a paralegal’s job, the steps to be one, what skills are required, and the median salary for the related work.
What are the duties of paralegals?
Paralegals aid attorneys and other specialists handle their criminal and civil legal cases. They are responsible for administrative work, research, and organizing the information legal teams can use in court. Paralegals can also interact with their clients and plan trial hearings, meetings, and other trials. Additional responsibilities for the paralegal could be:
- Legal documents to draft, including depositions and subpoenas, and legal briefs
- Conducting interviews with witnesses, clients, and other people involved in legal proceedings
- Assisting lawyers in court, including hearings, trials
- The storage of client information as well as legal documents safely
- Assisting with administrative or clerical tasks like answering the phone and managing letters
Does a Paralegal have the same qualifications as a Legal Assistant?
While these terms can be utilized in conjunction, “paralegal” and “legal assistant” are two distinct jobs with distinct responsibilities and, in certain states, different standards for working. According to the site for job seekers, Indeed Paralegals have the advantage of being “more involved with legal tasks” than legal assistants and performing work that is “typically more administrative” in nature.
Legal assistants don’t necessarily have to be a graduate. However, paralegals are usually required (though not to be required) to have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. In certain states, including California, Paralegals must meet specific qualifications for education (or mixtures of legal education and work knowledge) like successful graduation from the ABA-accredited paralegal training program.
National University has one of the few ABA-accredited paralegal programs across the United States that offer bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs and certificate concentrations for Litigation, Corporations, and Criminal Law.
What is a Paralegal’s Job?
Paralegals’ specific duties vary depending on factors such as degree of experience, the legal field, and the requirements of the employer or firm. But, in general, paralegals are expected to perform the following tasks and responsibilities as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Collecting information and facts on the legal process
- Conducting interviews with customers
- Development, planning, and management
- Writing and studying certain types of legal documents like contracts
- Forms and statements to be obtained of evidence from the court
- Legal briefs, as well as other court documents
- Helping lawyers prepare for trials
- Noting down notes or performing assistance during tests
It is important to note that paralegals’ work is not identical to attorneys’ and must be under an attorney’s supervision. But, being paralegals can offer invaluable insight into the law field and an excellent foundation for the fundamental skills required for a successful law student. This includes law research and writing.
Paralegals can also transition into lawyers’ careers after finishing law school and then clear the bar exam. Paralegal work is an excellent option to earn funds to finance law school. At National University, our J.D. program is specifically designed to meet the needs of professionals in their work. Most participants in J.D. students opt to work in full-time paralegal positions while they attend law school to save on the cost of attending law school.
If you’re considering a job as a paralegal, lawyer, or paralegals, consider related careers in the legal area, such as court reporters, law clerks, and legal research.
The skills required for paralegals are essential.
Paralegals utilize a mixture of both soft and hard abilities to get the job accomplished. The continuous development of these skills can be beneficial for your professional career. No matter if you’re seeking an advanced master’s degree in law or seeking a certificate, make sure you be aware of the most sought-after paralegal abilities. There are several standard techniques used by paralegalsExternal link:
- Organization skills
- Legal study
- Reading comprehension
- Active listening
- The ability to judge and make decisions
- Legal Writing
- Thinking critically
- Emotional intelligence
- Solving complex problems
- Public speech
Are you looking to improve your skills? We have various paralegal resources online to discover certification options, keep abreast of current legal trends, and much more.
What is the best way to choose a paralegal Programm
The most important indicator of a good paralegal course is whether the American Bar Association has approved it. Another crucial aspect to look at is a paralegal program’s placement rates.
“If most of the program’s graduates are obtaining legal jobs, then it is a good sign that the program has appropriately tailored its curriculum to the local legal needs,” Phillips states. “Although nationally employers may place a high value on four-year degrees, depending on the needs in your geographic area, you may find there are high-quality and effective associate degree programs with high placement rates.”
What’s the Average Salary a Paralegal Earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals made a median annual income of $56,230 by 2021. The lower 10% of those earning less than $36,410, while the highest 10% made over $88,640.
Paralegals’ outlook is excellent, with employment projected to grow 14% between 2021 and 2031. This is significantly faster than the typical projected increase for all occupations nationwide.
Based on the BLS, the projected increase can be attributed to law firms increasing the number of paralegals they hire to complete what lawyers usually do in comparing paralegals. Lawyers, the latter, cost less to hire, and this method can significantly cut costs at law companies.