A number of paralegal and legal degrees are offered to meet a variety of career goals. Students who are interested in a career as paralegal or legal assistant should select undergraduate programs in paralegal studies. Paralegal degrees
offer elective courses in areas such as civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, criminal law, bankruptcy law, and intellectual property. Students who wish to enter law school may choose general undergraduate programs in legal studies, which provide a foundation for further legal education. They may also utilize a general undergraduate degree in a number of careers available in private, public, and nonprofit sector.
Online Paralegal Degree
Students who are unable to attend campus based programs may choose online paralegal degree programs. Accredited online paralegal degrees follow a similar curriculum to that of campus based programs; only the method of instruction is different. Online students acquire education with the help of video lectures, discussion threads, online notes, slides, case studies, and practice exercises. Although, it is convenient to acquire an online degree in paralegal, the curriculum is challenging and demands students to regularly attend lectures and follow a study schedule. These degree programs also help students cut down on education costs. Generally, online programs charge lesser tuition fees due to their efficient setup. Also, online programs do not require students to pay for accommodation, commuting costs, or textbooks.
A paralegal certification is not mandatory, but it can have several benefits for paralegals. It shows employers that the candidate is committed to the profession and has mastered certain essential skills. Certification examinations test advanced knowledge of legal procedure, communication and writing, ethics, substantive law, and research. Paralegals may acquire professional designations after a few years of experience, and a certification could help them in many ways. It may help in enhancing their professional credibility, income potential, and employment opportunities.
Paralegal Job Description
After acquiring relevant qualifications, paralegals and legal assistants carry out diverse tasks. They participate in the investigation of cases and also conduct research on laws, regulations, and legal articles. They also have the responsibility to organize documents and maintain a filing system. In addition, they gather evidence and organize legal documents for the attorney to review. Paralegals also need to prepare letters and legal documents like contracts and mortgages. They help lawyers in trials as well. They manage exhibits, take notes, and review trial transcripts. A lot of people interaction is required by paralegals, as they often have to call clients, witnesses, and vendors to schedule meetings.
Paralegal Career Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants are expected to grow at a rate of 17 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than the average of all occupations. Law firms will require more paralegals and legal assistants to increase the efficiency of their legal services and cut down expenses. Some law firms are also hiring paralegals in place of legal secretaries, to carry out various support activities. Paralegals are also a less costly alternative to lawyers, and are able to perform many duties. All these factors are expected to increase the demand for paralegals.