While lawyers are held ultimately responsible for legal work, they often delegate many of their tasks to paralegals and legal assistants. Paralegals and legal assistants are crucial to law firms, government offices, major corporations and the overall justice system. And, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment opportunities for legal assistants and paralegals are expected to increase by 27 percent or more through the year 2014.
There are a number of legal and paralegal positions available to qualified and educated applicants. Now is the time to meet the demand! If you are detail-oriented and enjoy researching and analyzing, get the training you need to start a new career in the legal and paralegal field!
Paralegals and legal assistants are needed in almost every field imaginable. Many paralegals and legal assistants choose to specialize in one area of law, such as litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, labor law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law or real estate.
The duties of paralegals and legal assistants differ widely with the type of organizations in which they are employed. However, no matter which area you decide to focus on or where you work, your role will likely involve assisting attorneys in a number of ways, including:
- researching precedents and investigating the facts of cases
- drafting contracts, mortgages, separation agreements and other legal documents
preparing written reports
- helping prepare legal arguments, drafts or motions to be filed in court
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (BLS), median earnings for paralegals was $46,990 in 2012. Comparatively, in May of 2004, the median annual earnings, including bonuses, for paralegals and legal assistants was $39,130. In 2004, the middle 50 percent earned between $31,040 and $49,950, with the bottom 10 percent earning less than $25,360 and the top 10 percent earning more than $61,390. While the most recent statistics put out in 2012 show the top 10% earning $75,410 and the bottom 10% earning $29,420. Much progress is being made with wages and salaries for Paralegals.
Paralegal Schools and Training Programs
There are several paths that legal assistants and paralegals can take to get career-focused skills for their careers. However, most people pursue paralegal education through a formal paralegal program, community college, certification program or specialized school. Employers tend to prefer graduates of American Bar Association-approved training programs. Voluntary certification can also offer increased career opportunities.
Find the right legal and paralegal training to fit your needs, and begin a challenging and rewarding career!