What should you expect as a paralegal? Paralegals and legal assistants held about 285,600 jobs in 2016. They help create equitable access to legal aid. The high-profile nature of being a lawyer can seem glamorous, but it also brings a lot of scrutiny and pressure. Having that experience may help you when you go to law school. Minnesota, for instance, of 82.
And there's some truth in the saying. Paralegals working for metropolitan firms typically earn more than those who work in smaller cities and more rural areas. Paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships. Most certification bodies require that a paralegal pass an examination and possess at least one year of experience in the field. As a paralegal, you work in a law office, so you get to see what attorneys do every day. Any undergraduate program that will help develop to put you on the right track to enroll in law school. It brings together a diversity of opinions, experiences, and voices from those associated with the law anywhere in the world and is targeted to law students, current, past and future.
Richardson School of Law University of Louisville — Louis D. Lawyers do all the challenging work, leaving paralegals with the mundane stuff. Lawyers are required to have more formal training than paralegals are. Legal Background Another advantage to starting as a paralegal is to develop your legal background. There are some substantial differences between these roles, with pros and cons associated with each.
Corporate paralegals may monitor and review government regulations to ensure that the corporation is aware of new legal requirements. Once you have completed an undergraduate degree, the next step for prospective lawyers is to complete their Juris Doctor J. The professional implications of top law schools lead to better learning, and more importantly an instant network and brand on a resume. Apprenticeships are an alternative to the more traditional route of going to university; instead of studying for a degree and then postgraduate qualifications to become a solicitor or barrister, a legal apprentice may qualify as a solicitor while avoiding the high cost of going to university; instead receiving on-the-job training at a law firm, essentially working as a paralegal while gaining qualifications. So how do the two stack up? Passing the bar examination in your state is definitely not a given.
These certificate programs last only a few months and provide an intense introduction to the field. An estate planning attorney tends to find herself in court far less often, so her paralegal would most likely be more proficient in the area of drafting documents such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Although what a paralegal cannot do is established by law, what he can do is highly dependent on his employers. It's fairly common for paralegals to consider at some point of their careers about whether they should attend law school or not to make a change in career and become an attorney. Another differentiator—and potential stumbling block—for lawyers is the requirement to pass the bar examination in the state in which you intend to practice.
However, there is cause for concern for those considering this type of work. You also have the opportunity to ask questions and see them in action. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation. If you want to become a lawyer or a judge, you must go to law school and pass the state bar exam. Paralegals may also specialize in other legal areas, such as personal injury, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate. Blurred lines Paralegals are universally positive for law firms and clients because they provide valuable services at a lower cost than solicitors. But being paid nowhere near as much as junior solicitor colleagues to do the same work is bad news for paralegals themselves, while perhaps more importantly, many paralegals do not benefit from the career progression that is open to solicitors.
Lawyers have traditionally made much more money than paralegals, but salaries, especially for new graduates, may be much lower than expectations. Both lawyers and paralegals can expect to work long hours with urgent deadlines at times. Four-year degrees in paralegal studies are rare. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude. I think paralegals have really masked, to some extent, what has been a decline in the profitability of legal services.
Some litigation paralegals may also help coordinate the logistics of attending a trial, including reserving office space, transporting exhibits and documents to the courtroom, and setting up computers and other equipment. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. Keep in mind that some paralegals spend a lot of time on administrative tasks, especially in larger firms, so your on-the-job legal experience may be limited. Many more paralegals apply for training contracts at different firms to the one at which they are currently working. The transition from paralegal to lawyer. As many clients increasingly seek less costly alternatives for legal services, the demand for good paralegals continues to remain robust.
Although full tuition reimbursement may not be all that common, many employers are willing to pony up and cover at least some of the cost. As a legal intern, you will have the opportunity to work directly with licensed attorneys that can advise you on how to handle tough cases, teach you how to think and write logically, and even help you prepare for the bar exam. Now the good news: You might be eligible for tuition reimbursement from your employer as part of your salary package when you enter the field as an attorney. Electives include a series of health law courses, patent law courses, cyberlaw courses, advocacy courses, and business law courses — business planning and contract drafting. External links provided on rasmussen. Insight Into the Field If you're on the fence about whether or not to become an attorney, working as a paralegal first can give you insight into the career. Later, upon passing the bar exam, she was offered a position as an associate in her firm.
Their 2012 report places paralegals at 49 and attorneys at 87, well below plumber, receptionist, and just above vending machine repairman and funeral director. Formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects. The program a student chooses should have a good reputation. Similar Occupations This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of paralegals and legal assistants. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service is accurate, complete, or up-to-date.