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Paralegal Career Information

Paralegal Jobs, Education, Certification, Skills and More

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Paralegals are an integral part of the legal team and demand for these highly trained legal professionals is rising as law firms seek ways to keep legal costs in check. The number of paralegals has doubled in the last decade to nearly 250,000 paralegals in the U.S. and 51,000 in the U.K. The explosive growth of the paralegal profession reflects the increase in paralegal jobs and the demand for well-trained professionals to assist lawyers.

If you are considering a career as a paralegal or legal assistant, the articles below can help you determine whether a paralegal career is right for you.

1. Paralegal Career Profile

Today's paralegals are much more than lawyer's helpers. Paralegals can do nearly everything a lawyer can do with the exception of giving legal advice and setting legal fees. As market forces encourage the cheaper, more efficient delivery of legal services, paralegals are growing in number and becoming indispensible members of the legal team. This paralegal career profile explains the role of the paralegal in depth and outlines paralegal job duties, education, skills, salaries and employment outlook.

See Also: 10 Hot Legal Careers for Non-Lawyers

2. Paralegal Education

What does it take to become a paralegal? You can enter the field with little formal education and become a paralegal in only a few months. However, paralegals with the most employment prospects possess a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies (or related field) or a bachelor's degree and a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program. This guide to paralegal education explains how to become a paralegal.

3. Paralegal Certification

Certification is not required to practice as a paralegal but it can give you an edge in today's market. Certification establishes a baseline level of competency and sets you apart from other paralegals. In certain areas of the country, having a certain type of paralegal certification is necessary to find employment and advance in the profession. This guide to paralegal certification outlines several of the most common paralegal certifications and explains eligibility requirements and examination details.

4. Paralegal Skills

Paralegal tasks differ according to practice area but certain core skills are essential to most paralegal jobs. Communication, organization and technology skills are among the most sought-after paralegal skills in today's job market. These top eight paralegal skills outline what it takes to succeed as a paralegal.

See Also: Top 10 Legal Skills

5. Paralegal v. Lawyer

Choosing between a career as a paralegal and a career as a lawyer is a common dilemma among those considering a legal career. Each career choice has distinct benefits and drawbacks. In making the decision, you must consider how much time and money you can invest in your schooling and whether you want to enter law school. Should You Become a Paralegal or a Lawyer? outlines 15 key considerations in choosing between these two career paths.

See Also: So, You Want to Become a Lawyer?

6. The Litigation Paralegal

Civil litigation is the bread and butter of many law firms and one of the most popular paralegal practice areas. In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) found that nearly half of paralegals perform some work in litigation. The Role of the Litigation Paralegal outlines the responsibilities of paralegals in every aspect of the litigation cycle from inception through appeal.

See Also: The Role of the Litigation Attorney

7. The 8 Best Things About Being a Paralegal

Rising prestige, explosive growth and new opportunities are some of the reasons why there has never been a better time to become a paralegal. This guide to the best things about being a paralegal explores some of the advantages of a paralegal career.

See Also: The 10 Best Things About Being a Lawyer

8. The 8 Worst Things About Being a Paralegal

Let's face it, some aspects of a paralegal career are not so rosy. Although the industry is changing, many paralegals complain of lack of respect, long hours and mundane tasks. This list of the 8 Worst Things About Being a Paralegal lays bare the less glamorous and downright awful aspects of paralegal work.

See Also: The 10 Worst Things About Being a Lawyer

9. Paralegal Stories

So what is it really like to work as a paralegal in a certain practice area? Hear first hand from practicing paralegals who describe a day in the life of their careers. These paralegals detail their daily tasks, what they like best and least about their position, what practice tools and resources they find most useful and how you can break in. Do you work in a unique paralegal practice area? E-mail me to find out how you can share your story.

See Also: Practice Insights

10. Paralegal Resources

Looking for news, salary data, career information, how-to articles and other information about the paralegal profession? This list of paralegal publications is an excellent starting point. For more information on paralegal careers, you can also sign up for this free weekly e-mail newsletter and join the conversation on the About.com Legal Careers Facebook Page.

See Also: Legal and Paralegal Blogs

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