Paralegals work for lawyers. They do a variety of background work to help lawyers prepare for a case. Paralegals may investigate the facts, conduct legal research, organize and analyze information and prepare written reports. They work in many different areas of law, such as criminal law, bankruptcy, real estate law, family law and corporate law.
Depending on who they work for, some paralegals work forty-hour weeks and some must work much longer hours. Some paralegals may need to travel.
Salaries depend on education, training, experience, the type and size of employer and the location of the job. Earnings ranged from $21,000 to $50,000, which the average being around $34,000.
Helpful Skills and Subjects to Study
Being courteous and responsible as well as having good research and investigative skills is important. English, accounting, business, mathematics and word-processing courses are helpful for this career.
A related occupation that requires more extensive training is a lawyer. Other occupations which call for a specialized understanding of the law and the legal system include claim examiners, compliance and enforcement inspectors, occupational safety and health workers, patent agents, and title examiners.
Education & Training
More employers now prefer graduates of four-year paralegal programs or college graduates who are certified. Some train on the job. There are over 800 formal paralegal training programs in the country.
Paralegals are among the fastest growing occupations through 2008. There will, however, be stiff competition for these jobs.
Sources for Additional Information
Standing Committee on Legal Assistants
American Bar Association
750 North Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60611
National Federation of Paralegal Associations
P.O. Box 33108
Kansas City, MO 64114