The paralegal field is a well-compensated industry and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics paralegal or legal assistant jobs are expected to grow quickly over the next several years. The paralegal career is not only a financially rewarding but satisfying career.
Career Video on Paralegals
Watch a short video that gives an overview of the paralegal career.
- Featured: Paralegal Job Description
- Corporate Paralegal
- Nurse Paralegal
- Bankruptcy Paralegal
- Patent Paralegals
- Real Estate Paralegal
- Trademark Paralegal
- Civil Litigation Paralegal
Day-to-day Work Activities
- Support to lawyers by researching legal precedent, examine evidence or organize legal documentation.
- When preparing legal documentation, these also include briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts and real estate closing statements.
- They also prepare and proofread affidavits, retain document files and file pleadings with the court clerk.
- They also collect and analyze research information which includes: statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents.
- They inspect facts and law of court cases to establish causes of action and get cases ready.
- They sometimes organise witnesses to testify at various hearings.
- Direct and co-ordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas.
Paralegal Pay and Career Advancement
Paralegals can be employed in all types of organizations, but mostly are recruited in law firms, law offices, legal departments of government and corporate legal departments.
Once established in the paralegal field, it is possible to go for more senior jobs and reap higher wages and compensation, such as a Litigation Support Manager which are the highest paid paralegals. Paralegals must adhere strictly to the accepted standards of legal ethics.
With experience paralegals salary increases to $23,897 - $57,273. High earners such as senior paralegals can earn $80,260 a year. The salary is often made up of basic and compensation, sometimes shares including vacation, paid sick leave, reimbursements for continuing legal education, life insurance, savings plan, dental insurance and personal paid time off.
Entry Routes and Training
There are several ways to train as a paralegal.
Most paralegal occupations in this field require training in vocational schools (community college paralegal program), related on-the-job experience or an associate's degree in paralegal studies.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree but in another discipline you can just do a certificate in paralegal studies to gain entry into this industry.
Job Growth Opportunities
The job prospect for paralegals looks positive and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow by 12 percent between 2018 and 2028”.
There are two main changes seen – corporations favor paralegals over lawyers to keep costs down so legal services that once a lawyer did can be done by paralegals.
Second, small and medium businesses including individuals are still battling bankruptcy filings, foreclosures and divorce settlements.
Paralegals, generally provide the same legal services as lawyers but a reduced cost, and are thus inclined to fare pretty reasonably in difficult and booming economic situations.
If you’d like to learn more about a career as a paralegal, and possible paralegal areas of specialty, please check out our other resources.
All salary figures and employment projections are attributed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) http://www.bls.gov/oco/.