Paralegals are involved in the provision of essential support services in the entire legal process. Typical job responsibilities include evaluating facts, figures, and evidence related to legal cases; carrying out research on relevant laws and regulations; and maintaining paper and electronic files. Paralegals assist lawyers and attorneys by collecting evidence, preparing the necessary legal documents, and writing reports before trial. They assist lawyers in the process of trial as well by taking notes and reviewing transcripts. Paralegals play the role of intermediaries and deal with third parties like witnesses, clients, and vendors. They are also responsible for day to day activities like scheduling meeting and interviews.
For those of you who want to work in the legal sector, numerous legal paralegal degrees
are offered by institutes across the country. In addition to the conventional on-campus courses, many institutes allow you to purse a paralegal degree online
. A continually increasing number of people are turning to online education due to benefits like reduction in costs, freedom of studying according to a personalized schedule, and an equally rigorous curriculum and course content. People who are already working as a paralegal, but aspire to learn more and keep up with their field, may earn a diploma or certificate in paralegal studies, which could be completed in just a few months.
There are variations as far as the curriculum of paralegal studies is concerned. Some institutes require students to take up some courses in liberal arts too. Examples of courses that you may come across in a legal paralegal degree include:
Legal Research and Writing
Principles and Practice of Litigation
Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
Administrative Law & Process
The programs are usually designed in such a way that provide technical knowledge and encourage students to enhance communication and critical analysis skills. You will also receive industry specific knowledge which is essential for working effectively in the legal setting. This may include legal jargon and use of specialized software.
Even though it is not a requirement, it is advisable to become certified by a professional body like the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). It enhances your credibility and job prospects by indicating to prospective employers that you are committed to the field and fulfill state or national standards. To become eligible to take the exam, you must hold a degree from an institute that is recognized by American Bar Association and have one or two year's professional experience.|
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2012, paralegals and legal assistants earned a median annual wage of $46,990. The BLS estimates suggest a fairly good job outlook, with a faster than average growth rate of 17 percent between 2012 and 2022. Paralegals may find work in industries like legal service, local governments, federal executive branch, state governments, and other companies and enterprises.