If you are seeking a new career, one with a potential for job security, you might consider a 7 to 12 month program through which you would earn a certificate as a paralegal. A paralegal is a person who assists an attorney with client interviews, legal research, drafting legal documents, maintaining correspondence, summarizing depositions, attending executions of wills and more. Paralegal training is available through numerous online paralegal schools in addition to the many fine traditional colleges and universities. read more »
Requirements to become a paralegal
Paralegal studies could lead to just a certificate or to an associate or bachelor’s degree. If you choose to take the examination offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants, you will also earn the title “Certified Legal Assistant.” The paralegal certification program is currently voluntary but several states, including Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas have announced standards for paralegal certification. This may be of increasing importance in coming years because the Supreme Court recently ruled that paralegal fees may be included in the recovery costs related to a law suit.
There are approximately 600 paralegal education programs in the United States. The numerous programs available make it possible for people from nearly any background to enter the profession. The most popular programs are the Associate Degree and Bachelor Degree programs. The certificate programs are usually designed for students who already have a degree, but offer a program of study that is dramatically shorter than a degree program.
Regardless of the program you select, you will find that paralegal education is a unique course of study that combines an understanding of legal theory and processes with practical application. Course work includes studies in critical thinking, communication, ethics, American history, computational skills, business and political systems.
Regarding job security, the paralegal profession is expected grow by 33% in the coming years. Private law firms are the largest employers of paralegals although other organizations such as insurance companies, real estate firms and banks are beginning to employ paralegals as well. While a paralegal cannot give legal advice to a client, many of the tasks that must be performed in the field of law can be performed by these well trained legal assistants. A paralegal can also be referred to as a “legal assistant,” “independent paralegal,” “freelance paralegal,” and “contract paralegal.” The courts recognize paralegals as qualified to carry out many tasks under the supervision of an attorney.
Salaries for Paralegals
Salaries for paralegals range from $30,000 to about $65,000. Like other jobs and career fields, those in larger cities and who have more experience and education can expect to receive higher salaries.