Guide to paralegals featuring information, resources, news, articles, guides and advice covering the paralegal profession and law.
Entering the paralegal field will require much more than a love for the legal industry. Being familiar with the rules, regulations and laws the govern the industry will help you to find suitable employment. Learn what you can do to make yourself a valuable asset and landing a job in a law firm will be simple.
Although many people become paralegals because of the potential to make a high salary, further education will be required to meet your full potential. Education is tantamount in the paralegal field, but experience, expertise and skills will be the most important factors that employers will be on the lookout for.
There are many high paying jobs that require minimal training but most industries have become over saturated. People interested in getting into the paralegal field will have a better chance of succeeding if they know where the best job markets are located. Find out more about the direction of the paralegal field and prepare yourself for the future.
Becoming A ParalegalAlthough paralegals do not need as much education as attorneys they do need to take many courses in order to earn their degrees. What paralegals are mainly responsible for is operating the back end offices of law firms. This may consist of drafting legal letters or faxing documents' on the behalf of the lawyers that they work for, or lighter duties such as greeting clients and running errands. Paralegals are not to be confused with receptionists. While there are some law firms that will hire on a paralegal with no formal education, the vast majority require their employees to have a two year degree with a focus on legal studies at a minimum. The most highly paid paralegals either have their bachelors, masters or post graduate degrees. Not all paralegals major in the legal field, however, a focus on English, Criminal Justice and Political Studies is highly preferred. Ultimately, paralegals that have years of experience will have a greater chance of being hired later on in their careers than those with no formal training.
Many Internet based colleges offer online paralegal degrees, but generally law firms and other employers are looking for more traditional education. Those that are interested in entering a paralegal career can go to school online, however, they should make sure that the schools they attend are accredited and associated with a well known university. Individual law firms may require their paralegals to attend Continuing Legal Education courses in order to be compliant with their particular standards.
Some paralegals work exclusively in an office setting while others assist lawyers within the courthouse. Most paralegals are also required to understand legal terminology in order to file paperwork and consult with clients. For the most part, larger law firms may only hire paralegals with many years of advanced training and experience, but this growing field has a place for all interested prospects.
In the US, only the state of California has any certification requirements for paralegals. After former Governor David Gray proposed the Business and Professions Code 6450 in 2000, there were no laws or rules in effect that restricted what paralegals could do. Now, new paralegals must attend courses approved by the American Bar Association before they can seek employment. Paralegals that had been consistently employed prior to the year 2000 were able to be grandfathered in, but it is not clear whether or not paralegals who are hoping to get back into the field will be able to circumvent the new requirements.