Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Pursuing a Career as a Paralegal

Do you find the justice system interesting, but don’t want to put in the time to go to law school and become a lawyer? If you are a curious person who is detail oriented and has the ability to work under pressure, then you might want to look into pursuing a career as a paralegal.

It is important for lawyers to know everything they can about the cases they are working on, but they don’t have time to do everything themselves. This is where a paralegal comes in, assisting lawyers in their cases by conducting legal research in order to inform them of vital information and facts. This type of legal research often requires paralegals to spend long hours in libraries reading up on past cases and looking up laws. They also help lawyers prepare for their cases by writing reports and keeping track of important documents. Paralegals can also do work that is not related to court cases, such as writing mortgages, separation agreements, and contracts. They can also help plan estates, establish trust funds, and prepare tax returns.

Along with working at law firms, paralegals can also work in a variety of different environments such as government offices, corporate legal offices, insurance agencies, accounting firms, and mortgage and title companies. When it comes to the law, there are many different areas that paralegals can choose to work in, such as corporate law, personal injury, litigation, criminal law, intellectual property, labor law, real estate, and family law. Paralegals typically are employed year round and work 40-hour weeks, but sometimes paralegals are only hired during busy times of the year in which they work very long hours to meet important deadlines. Paralegals spend most of their time sitting at desks and conduct most of their work at law libraries or offices.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth of paralegals is projected to grow much faster than average – 28 percent between 2008 and 2018. This growth is due to the fact that employers are trying to reduce expenses by hiring paralegals to do work that was once done by lawyers. Those interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal can do so through a community college, earning a certification, or being trained. Some community colleges have paralegal programs that students can earn an associate degree through. Those who have already earned a college degree can earn a certification in paralegal studies through paralegal organizations. Most employers do not require certification, and even do on-the-job training for those interested in working as a paralegal.

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