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.
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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