Hello, I'm Katherine. You've all seen the glitzy life of a lawyer, right? Nice cars, fancy clothes, high-profile clients? Well, we all have to start somewhere... and that somewhere is usually as a paralegal.
As a paralegel, you get to help lawyers with there work. Many times it's the stuff that may seem boring, but is very important. You get to assist the attorney. Depending on how dedicated you are, you can rapidly move up the ranks in the law firm.
There has been a lot of buzz about the field of paralegal work. The U.S. Department of Labor has been predicting tremendous job growth in this field, but with such a strong prediction, there has been a great increase in the number of people training for paralegal work. The result is that the paralegal field is now quite competitive. To get an edge you really need to understand what a paralegal does and ensure that you get the right training so you can get the job you want.
In the past paralegal work required little, if any training. Today, though, the competitive job market means that you need formal training if you want the highest paying and best jobs. At minimum you should have an Associates degree in paralegal studies. It can also help to have some on the job experience. You should be able to demonstrate that you have the skills to do complex legal research, witness interviews and all the administrative duties that are required as part of the job.
Most employers do not want to have to spend time training a new paralegal. You need to be ready to go from the moment you are hired. Most employers won't even consider you in the running for a position if you have no education, training or experience. To have the best chance of securing paralegal work you need to have training before you apply.
Paralegals are assistants to an attorney and legal team. The paralegal's role is to help the attorney with anything they need on the case. A paralegal may do legal research, interview witness, investigate case facts, create legal documents or do any number of administrative duties. Basically, a paralegal is expected to handle any job an attorney hands them.
A paralegal works independently most of the time. The job is very time sensitive and deadlines are almost always a factor. A paralegal needs to be able to handle the pressure of a deadline and be able to keep on task when working alone.
The only things that a paralegal does not do is give legal advice to clients and represent clients in court. These two things fall under the category of practicing law, which is illegal to do without a license. All other tasks that an attorney does, though, can become part of the job duties of a paralegal.
Where the Jobs Are
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, around 71% of the paralegal work available is for legal firms. There are other options, though. The remaining 29% of paralegal work is found in corporations and with government agencies. Any business that employs a team of lawyers is likely to have positions available for paralegals.
Finding paralegal work should start in your immediate area. Most jobs are found in larger cities. A person should start by looking on job boards or in local classified ads. It is possible to find job openings by just contacting legal firms or other businesses and sending in a resume.
Paralegals are essentially assistants to lawyers. They help attorneys by researching, writing reports, and performing other preparatory work that is related to the duties of the lawyer, i.e. trials, hearings, closing, etc. Paralegal work is an interesting career in the legal field that is in high demand, even in today's economy. The paralegal work field is expected to continue growing until the year 2018.
Paralegals are very important to lawyers, as they do many important jobs for the lawyers that can restrict the expansion of their career.
Paralegals can do much of what a lawyer is able to. But, paralegals are not permitted to give legal advice, set legal fees, or present cases in a courtroom setting.
Paralegal work isn't for everyone, because this career comes with many responsibilities. A paralegal in a law firm helps keep the entire office organized.
To be a paralegal, you need to be a good writer, an efficient researcher, and a hard worker that can handle many tasks at one time. You also need to be able to use a computer well. With all of these skills, you can become a very successful paralegal and make good money.
Paralegal work can get you a relatively good salary, with an average base salary of $31,000-$43,000. And, after a few years, the salary will continue to grow periodically.
To become a paralegal, you need certification and/or training. There are thousands of paralegal schools around the United States, and you need to find one that fits your specific needs.
The majority of paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Some paralegals can even specialize in an area of law. To do that, you need to obtain a bachelor's degree in a certain aspect of law, making you a specialist. Obtaining any type of degree can greatly benefit you if you are trying to find a career in paralegal work.
Each school and educational route is different, so the amount of time it will take you to get the necessary education for paralegal work will vary. It can take as little as three months, or take as long as two years. Paralegal education can even be done online.
Getting as much education about paralegal work as possible before you start working can be very beneficial to your career. Many law firms have on-the-job training, but with more education, that can become less prevalent and you could get more responsibilities right away.
Once you find your school and get your education for paralegal work, you may want to consider getting certified. Certification is not required in any state to become a paralegal. But, it can get you a leg up over competing paralegal applicants. Plus, many lawyers are looking for paralegals that are certified, so getting that certificate can broaden the positions you would be able to apply for.
As you gain more experience in paralegal work, you will be given more responsibilities. And, as you gain more and more responsibilities, you can expect career advancement opportunities.
Paralegal work is crucial to functioning of a law firm. Without paralegals, some law firms would be totally dysfunctional. A lot of hard work and dedication is needed to be a good paralegal. This field is very interesting and has a high demand, which is a good thing in today's economy.
Paralegals are one of the fastest growing fields in the legal community. They provide invaluable support to the attorneys and firms in which they work. Paralegal work is exciting, challenging, and rewarding.
A paralegal is a person that has unique skills and qualifications. Paralegals learn their trade through a combination of education, training, and work. Paralegals assist attorneys in every aspect of their practice of law.
Paralegal work cannot be performed by just anyone. Paralegals often have a four year college degree. In addition to a college degree many go to school to become certified as a paralegal. Although paralegals practice in many areas of law they are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice.
They can draft legal pleadings, meet with clients, and perform legal research and writing. Paralegal work also consists of working with the attorney to prepare for trial in all types of litigation cases. They interact with all levels of the legal system and local government offices.
As the paralegal field has continued to grow the demand is high for qualified professionals. There are more career opportunities for paralegal work now more than ever before. Paralegals can choose to work in a law firm or large corporations. Paralegals with advanced skills and experience may find it possible to work from home.
There are firms and attorneys that allow their paralegal work to be done from home. These positions are given to paralegals that have years of experience because of the nature of the work. Entry level paralegals should not expect to find many opportunities to work from home.
Paralegals that work from home can perform a variety of tasks that are normally done in an office setting. They can perform research, draft legal documents, transcribe correspondence, and even interact with clients.
There are many rewards to working from home but the opportunities for paralegals to work from home are not as great. This may change because the field is expanding and demand has increased. Many firms allow attorneys to work from home and the trend to allowing paralegals to have the same benefits have slowly become available.
Paralegals can also contract their services to attorneys or firms which gives them the option to work from home. Contract paralegals are not employed with an attorney or a firm. They are considered independent contractors and can generally set their own hours as well as their rate for services rendered.
Paralegal work performed by an individual that works from home can be more cost effective for an attorney or law firm. Law firms and attorneys that contract their paralegal work do not have to pay for benefits or overtime. In some cases, contract paralegals charge flat rates for certain services so this can also help attorneys or law firms save money by outsourcing work.
Unfortunately, not all paralegal work can be done from home. There will always be a need to have paralegals working in an office setting because of the different needs of clients and firms.
A paralegal is the title of an assistant that works for an attorney. Paralegals do many different tasks, including investigating cases, interviewing witness, legal research and administrative duties. The paralegal field has been growing rather steadily the past few years. This is because attorneys can have paralegals handle many of the duties involved in preparing a case, which results in lower costs and fees for the client. Paralegal's can help an attorney to provide lower cost services to clients and so many law firms are filing their staff with them. Additionally, paralegals can work in other industries on legal teams. The possibilities for finding paralegal work are quite good.
Education and Training
To find paralegal work you first need to make sure that you have the education and training necessary for the job. The requirements for a paralegal will vary from job to job. You can get a degree in paralegal studies, which will probably give you the most job opportunities. However, some jobs may only require you to have a college degree or some experience in the legal field.
You will probably get more duties and be able to get better jobs with more training or experience in the legal field. Duties like legal research require knowledge of legal language and the ability to comb through legal documents and find specific information. If you have no training on how to do this then you will need to find a job where you can get training or find paralegal work where you won't be required to handled such specific legal duties.
How to Find Paralegal Work
Paralegal work in available in law firms, but this is not the only option. Insurance companies, large corporations and almost any business that employees a team of lawyers will have positions available for paralegals. You should decide what industry appeals to you the most and then start looking for paralegal work in that industry in your area.
Make sure you have a resume ready when applying for paralegal work. You should make your resume highlight any experience that you have in the legal field. It should also highlight experience you have with writing, research, administrative tasks and your customer service or people skills. You want your resume to show that you have the skills necessary to do the job.
After Finding a New Job
Once you have found a paralegal position, you will want to make sure that your skills are fresh. If you just graduated with a law degree then you are probably ready to get started. If you have been out of school for a while or you have never done paralegal work, you should do a bit of research to make sure that you are prepared for your first day. A job as a paralegal usually moves at a fast pace. You are often working on a deadline and you will work independently quite a bit. You need to be able to stay on task and work under pressure. It is important that you are confident in your abilities so that your first day can be focused on learning about your new employer, the job duties and getting started, instead of worrying about what you do not understand or know how to do.
Paralegal work is not too difficult to find. Most paralegal jobs are found in larger cities, so you may need to commute to your new job. However, you can usually find quite a few different paralegal work opportunities so you have the ability to find the one that is perfect for you.