How to become a Paralegal – Career Information and Best Certificate Programs
Paralegal is a work field where you work as an assistant to a lawyer for various legal works being carried out in his office. Many people have common questions like, how to become certified paralegal, how long to become paralegal and required qualifications etc. There are different types of work to perform and it depends on the firm, smaller the firm different work is carried out by a single from. In a large firm, there are different assistants to do specific work. Paralegals do much responsible work held by lawyers, but however, they cannot present a case in court or offer legal advice.
Usually, paralegal work includes
- Legal research to be carried out
- Investigation of the facts for a given case
- Meeting with clients to discuss case details as well as taking notes of client interviews
- Preparing and maintain legal documents such as affidavits
- To assist lawyers in organizing exhibits for attending trials and depositions
- Filing pleading with the court for a case.
What is the qualification required for paralegals?
There are degree paralegal studies associate degree program offered through many colleges. Some of the colleges offer bachelors and master’s degree program in paralegal studies. Educational programs for paralegal work in the US are approved by the American Bar Association. However, only 25-30% associate and bachelor’s degree programs are ABA-approved. Entirely online degree programs are not approved by ABA as it requires at least ten semester hours of the course to be taken in a traditional classroom.
Some law-house even hires people with no degree in paralegal or no work experience. They provide them on-the-job training. Though there are no universal qualifications required for it, you are more likely to be hired if you have relevant degree for paralegal work.
Certificate programs for paralegal are short term programs and can be completed in few months. People who have associate or bachelor’s degree in another area prefer to take certificate programs. Usually, it includes a fixed number of college hours as well as experience in the specific field of law and includes course work related to paralegal work only.
Degree programs includes basic course in subjects such as English, maths, science and social studies and required course work for paralegal. Master’s degree programs are also offered, but generally not required for paralegal work. It takes about two years to complete associate program, whereas three years to complete degree program.
How much can Paralegals Earn?
Paralegals can earn decent salary, though they cannot earn as much as lawyers. It also depends on the state where you work. Paralegal working in metropolitan area makes more. Your work experience is also a deciding factor for the salary.
Where can Paralegals work?
According to the reports, some areas of the US state have more jobs for paralegals. Some of the states such as Florida, District of Columbia, Delaware, Connecticut, and West Virginia etc. have higher concentration of paralegal job. According to the national survey in the private firms, there are more jobs and it is about 63%. Banks, hospitals, insurance companies etc. offer about 20% of the jobs.
If you love challenging work and have aptitude for legal work, you can consider career in paralegal work. You can take appropriate course program, or even directly opt for on job training without official degree and make your future with good earning.
More Related Queries:
- How to become a paralegal without going to school? / required qualifications
- How long does it take to become a paralegal? / certified programs and online courses