10 Certificate Programs That Lead to High-Paying Jobs, The 8 Best Things About a Paralegal Career. If you're interested in becoming a paralegal, you're not alone. Find employment that provides on-the-job training at a firm, corporation, or organization. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. The lowest-paid 10% of people in the profession earned less than $32,160, and the highest-paid 10% earned more than $82,500 in May 2019.. Immigration paralegals work for immigration attorneys, who specialize in helping clients navigate immigration laws to obtain visas, become naturalized citizens or legal residents, and solve other immigration-related issues. The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm, https://www.nala.org/sites/default/files/files/users/2018%20Utilization%20%26%20Comp%20Summary%20of%20Findings.pdf, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#st, Forensic Science Technician: Career Guide. Bankruptcy can involve many steps, including attending meetings between attorneys for both parties to take notes and to make records, drafting applications, petitions, and schedules, conducting real property searches to establish known assets, ordering appraisals, interviewing various individuals, and preparing for hearings. Certified paralegals have passed a national exam and have been issued certification by a national paralegal association. She is a lawyer and founder of The Girl's Guide to Law School. However, they must acquire a paralegal license after completion of the program and register themselves with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). In addition to earning a degree or certificate in paralegal studies, paralegals may choose national certification, which is awarded by the national professional paralegal associations. Alison Monahan wrote about legal careers for The Balance Careers. © 2021 CriminalJusticeDegreeSchools.com, a Red Ventures Company. Employer jobs. ","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Making a good impression as an intern may lead to an offer of employment. It’s also possible, but increasingly rare, to obtain a position based on other work experience and on-the-job training. If you’re interested in a career that is growing faster than average, or if you possess the necessary skills and are interested in the legal profession, a career as a paralegal may be for you. Accessed May 23, 2020. Criminal law paralegals may also be known as criminal defense paralegals, criminal litigation paralegals, or simply criminal paralegals. Some paralegals hold a degree in a different subject and have a certification in paralegal studies. Bachelor’s degree programs in paralegal studies and legal studies are both common. However, overtime may be necessary. If you’re seeking a challenging and engaging position in a growing field, consider pursuing this career. The exact job duties of a paralegal (sometimes called a “legal assistant”) can vary depending on where they’re employed and the area of law in which they work. Some bankruptcies can be very complex and involve additional steps of varying degrees of complexity. Aside from an excellent knowledge of law and the legal system, good research skills are essential for anyone looking to become a Paralegal. There are many other law-related careers that you may be interested in if being a paralegal interests you. Associate programs 3. Currently there are four national exams from which to select: The PACE offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) The PCC also offered by National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the paralegal job field is expected to grow at a rate of 15% through 2026.1 As law firms and other employers continue to cut budgets while the demand for legal services increases, employers are choosing to utilize paralegals whenever possible since paralegals can perform legal tasks at a lower cost per hour than attorneys. A paralegal career offers the opportunity to perform engrossing, meaningful work in a professional atmosphere. Many paralegals work alongside multiple attorneys and not just for a single attorney. A bankruptcy paralegal navigates a debtor (someone who owes money) through a federally approved process that allows him or her to be relieved of that debt by negotiating a deal with creditors and the court. More employers are now requiring paralegals to hold a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies or legal studies. What Are Non-Lawyer Careers in a Law Firm? Basically, you become a paralegal with a bachelor’s degree in any course. For more information about paralegal degrees, read our Paralegal Degree Center. "What Paralegals and Legal Assistants Do." Law school can be very difficult and very expensive, so if you are not sure if it’s the right move for you, finding work as a paralegal is a more cost-efficient investment while you decide. In most states, there are no specific education requirements to become a paralegal. A Guide to Paralegal Programs and Education, Job Outlook and Requirements of Degrees for High-Paying Careers, Paralegal Job Description: Salary, Skills, & More, Jobs and Careers for Political Science Majors. In addition to working for law firms, paralegals often provide assistance to the legal and finance departments in large corporations as well as nonprofit and government organizations. Currently there are four national exams from which to s… A bachelor’s degree in legal studies is not required by all employers, but it might help you gain an edge over the competition for entry-level roles. CriminalJusticeDegreeSchools.com is an advertising-supported site. To read more about criminal law paralegals, see our Criminal Law Paralegal Career Guide. Most professional organizations, including the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegals (NFP), recommend choosing a program that is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Search schools to find the program that's right for you. Paralegals, or legal assistants, work in private law firms or in the public sector and perform support tasks for attorneys. It's projected to grow by 12% between 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average projected growth of 5% for all occupations., In May 2019, the median annual wage for paralegals was $51,740, according to BLS. In addition, get certified. A legal assistant is another general term for a paralegal. The litigation paralegal often assists with the settlement of the case and an appeal, if necessary, which includes organizing and analyzing data, communicating with the necessary parties, and acting as a liaison with court officials. So you know you want to become a paralegal. A criminal law paralegal supports the work of criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors. Accessed May 23, 2020. If you enjoy investigating facts, performing research, writing, and working with people in a fast-paced atmosphere, chances are you may enjoy this career path. Certificate programs 2. How to Become a Paralegal. "}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What type of schedule does a paralegal generally work? A litigation paralegal’s job begins with discovery and an investigation into the facts of a case. It is possible for an experienced paralegal working in a highly specialized or technical field to make a six-figure salary. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Legal assistants and paralegals both assist lawyers in trial preparation and research. "How to Become a Paralegal or Legal Assistant." "Paralegals and Legal Assistants: Pay." But the BLS states that the most common educational path that leads to work as a paralegal is an Associate’s degree, which can be completed in as a few as 18 months. They'll then earn a certificate in paralegal studies through another program. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm#st, {"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"Why should I choose a bachelor's program instead of an associate's program? Paralegals who gain experience may find many opportunities for advancement, including being promoted to management positions. How to become a Paralegal While there are no mandatory educational requirements to become a Paralegal, it’s common for Paralegals to have some legal training. Paralegals must also have top-notch writing skills to draft correspondence, contracts, memos, pleadings, discovery, motions, briefs, and more. Those interested in legal careers but who aren’t sure they want to go to law school are often good candidates for becoming paralegals. They also need both traditional and internet research skills to be able to find and analyze information and cite legal authority for cases. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary: £500; Location: London End: 18/06/2021; View job. You'll also need to complete a paralegal studies program in order to get a job, which will require a high school diploma or GED to enroll in. What type of schedule does a paralegal generally work? Paralegal programs typically require students to complete an internship in a legal setting. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. Therefore, the ability to prepare documents for the court is beneficial. The terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant” used to be interchangeable, but that is slowly beginning to change within the industry. They work along the…, As sworn officers with the New York State Police, New York State Troopers work to improve highway safety, detect and prevent terrorism, and prepare for…. Accessed May 23, 2020. Prospective legal assistants should have strong analytical skills, should know the importance of attention to detail, and should be prepared to stay current with technology. Paralegals may assist in deposing witnesses and collecting and cataloging facts in the case file. Next article: Paralegal qualifications . If you are interested in becoming a paralegal, this page will serve as a guide to inform you about what paralegals do, the kind of experience and schooling needed to become a paralegal, and the salary and outlook for the occupation. Pleadings, which the litigation paralegal may write and file, may also occur during this time as attorneys attempt to maneuver their clients into the most favorable positions. Joining a local paralegal association can also lead to opportunities. Many employers prefer paralegal candidates with four-year degrees. There are many colleges across the country that offer such courses. "}},{"@type":"Question","name":"Are online programs a good alternative to a traditional program?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Yes. State and federal government agencies, consumer organizations, public defenders’ or prosecutors’ offices, and community legal services programs all hire paralegals. To become a paralegal, you must graduate from high school. Now what? In fact, the National Federation of Paralegals asserts that distance programs provide flexibility and a “viable alternative” for self-motivated individuals. However, only individuals who have earned certification as a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) can use the title of “legal assistant.”. In the five largest US states by population, paralegal salaries are as follows: Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.3. Within the salary ranges available, it’s important to understand that how much an individual paralegal makes depends on many factors including their background, job performance, type of employer, and area of law. Becoming a paralegal can give you a fast entry into an amazing profession within the legal system. There are no nationally required education standards to work as a paralegal so education can be flexible. Why should I choose a bachelor's program instead of an associate's program? How to Become a Paralegal. Rasmussen College. However, making the decision to become a paralegal does not mean that you can’t become a lawyer down the line. However, overtime may be necessary. To be a paralegal, one must: Earn a certificate or degree in paralegal or legal studies from an accredited degree program. You can find out more about available paralegal programs through our Paralegal Degree Center. There are several ways to become a paralegal: Certificate programs, two-year programs, and four-year programs can all lead to becoming a paralegal. Corporate paralegals ensure that companies have all the necessary paperwork (filings with the Secretary of State, for instance) completed and filed and comply with all applicable federal and state laws. Something which also makes accuracy and attention to detail other key attributes for anyone looking … In general, you must have at least an associate’s degree to work as a paralegal. "Paralegals and Legal Assistants: Work Environment." However, there are some specific skills that paralegals should possess. A bachelor's degree provides legal assistants with more job opportunities, and typically a higher starting salary. Bachelor’s degree programs 4. Explore program formats, transfer requirements, financial aid packages, and more by contacting the schools below. Paralegals assist lawyers with preparing for trials, hearings, and corporate meetings. Also known as legal assistant, paralegal is one of the fastest growing career choices in the United States. Your best path is to complete the state’s published minimum requirements and take every opportunity for continuing education and professional development. American Bar Association. Most paralegal positions also include numerous other benefits such as medical, dental, life, and disability insurance, paid time off, and company-matched 401(k) or IRA accounts. Many employers prefer paralegal candidates with four-year degrees. Legal assistants have several options for certification. If the case does not go to trial, the paralegal may assist in a settlement negotiation, which also involves research and analysis. You could study for a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in law, legal studies or paralegal practice. The typical educational requirements can be completed in as little as two years with an associate’s degree or even less with a paralegal certificate, and the starting salary is reasonable – with plenty of room for growth. Relevant work experience in a legal setting would also help you when looking … In addition to needing to put the high school diploma on your resume, you also need the skills that you learn in high school. Certification is not required to become a paralegal in Nevada, but some law firms may require certain certifications to be eligible for positions with more responsibility. Are online programs a good alternative to a traditional program? They will perform duties similar to that of other paralegals (filing paperwork, conducting research, interviewing witnesses and defendants, corresponding with clients, etc.). You will likely gain some experience during your internship in school, but you can also expect to learn on-the-job once you take your first position. Most states don’t have an official requirement that you must graduate from high school, however, as a practical matter, anyone wanting to become a paralegal should treat their high school diploma as a must. Accessed May 23, 2020. They work for law firms, corporations or government agencies. Best Online Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, Best Online Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, New York City Police Officer Requirements, Criminal Justice Capital Punishment Focus, Paralegal Career Description, Duties, and Common Tasks, Why Becoming a Paralegal Is a Promising Career Choice, Kristine M. Custodio, President of the San Diego Paralegal Association, Karen R. George, President of the South Florida Paralegal Association, Lori Boris, President of the Minnesota Paralegal Association, Lynda Cmara, President of New Haven County Association of Paralegals in Connecticut, Rachel Nesbit, Vice President of the Mississippi Paralegal Association, Best Paralegal Career Advice From 17 Leaders in the Paralegal Field, American Association for Paralegal Education, NALA: National Association of Legal Assistants, NALS: The Association for Legal Assistants. Many employers also provide tuition reimbursement or pay for classes and seminars. Accessed May 23, 2020. Research educational requirements According to the BLS, most paralegals or legal assistants have an associate degree or certificate in paralegal studies. Offer such courses with whom they work for law firms or in the public and! Competing an associate ’ s degree, higher national diploma or degree in law, studies... 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