Paralegal Career

paralegal-500Paralegals are delegated much of their work by lawyers, some of them performing many of the same tasks. Duties that are particularly important include assisting lawyers as they prepare for trials, hearings, closings, and corporate meetings.

A paralegal gathers and analyzes research data, investigates laws and facts of previous cases, and researches relevant sources in order to prepare for cases. In addition, paralegals assist with the preparation of legal documents, correspondence, and arguments.

Paralegal Career Assessment

Take our Paralegal career assessment. This 30 question quiz let’s you know if you’re cut out for a career as a paralegal by analyzing your abilities, skills, and interests.

1. Are you someone who enjoys collecting, organizing, and managing information?

2. Do day-to-day administrative tasks like filing paperwork, maintaining computer records, and keeping track of legal forms appeal to you?

3. Do you work well under a demanding schedule where others rely on you to fulfill assignments?

4. Are you someone who pays close attention to details?

5. Does your work often require outside review in order to catch errors, typos, and inaccuracies?

6. Are you able to articulate legal information in a clear, easy-to-understand manner?

7. Do you have little to no difficulty understanding legal briefings, documents, and reports?

8. Are you able to quickly and succinctly prioritize your work by developing goals to accomplish work outcomes?

9. Are you able to maintain a calm and professional composure with clients who are emotional?

10. Do you have a strong command of spoken and written English?

11. Do you possess a legal knowledge of laws, codes, and regulations in your area of legal interest?

12. Are you able to spend large amounts of time researching legal information through public records and law libraries?

13. Are you proficient in a variety of computer programs, including most Windows applications?

14. Do you have strong time management skills?

15. Are you able to see the “bigger picture,” i.e. looking at a legal case as a whole versus only parts of it?

16. Are you OK identifying long-term versus short-term outcomes in a situation?

17. Are you OK anticipating different outcomes depending on the way a case might play out?

18. Are you an effective listener who retains at least 80% of the information a client or supervising attorney shares?

19. Do you enjoy making presentations, often without notes?

20. Do you often need to return to a supervisor or client for further clarification?

21. Do you possess a clear understanding of the Rules of Evidence?

22. Given the details of a case, are you able to compare the facts against legal precedents?

23. Can you communicate effectively through a variety of forums such as email, telephone, and face-to-face?

24. Are you highly accurate in your work?

25. Does the responsibility of making decisions that will affect others financially, professionally, and/or legally appeal to you?

26. Do you enjoy being relied upon for the smooth work flow in an office setting?

27. Are you willing to put considerable time into an assignment knowing that it may not be used?

28. Do you enjoy acting as a representative of your employer?

29. Do you enjoy learning about new developments in your field?

30. Are you OK defending your opinion to a supervisor or client stressful?

Paralegal Snapshot

Paralegals, often called Legal Assistants, aid lawyers by helping them prepare for trials and hearings. While paralegals cannot give legal advice, they can perform much of the research and legal paperwork needed to prepare for trials. If you choose a career as a legal assistant or paralegal, you will likely prepare reports, correspondence, draft legal documents, coordinate research, and review legal forms for accuracy. Seven out of 10 paralegals work in a law firm.

You can find out more details on a career as a paralegal below (statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):

$48,810

is the average earnings for paralegals per year.

8%

increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.

44%

have a Bachelor’s degree, 30% have an Associate’s.

Paralegal Education

Although there are no official requirements to become a paralegal at this time, most do have formal training often in the form of a degree. Most paralegals have either an Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies or a Bachelor’s Degree in another field along with a certificate in Paralegal Studies.

Paralegal Job Outlook

According to the BLS.gov, paralegal careers are expected to increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024 which is about as fast as the average occupation.

Paralegal Salaries

According to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, the average annual salary for paralegals in May 2015 was $48,810. Salaries can range from $30,670 on the low end to more than $79,010 on the high end.

Paralegal Job Duties

If you choose a career as a legal assistant, you will have to perform legal prep work for attorneys including researching, investigating, and preparing legal documentation. Paralegals can do many tasks, but may not give legal advice, set legal fees, and present cases in courts of law.

Paralegal Career

The following table presents a few of the ideal skills and abilities possessed by individuals considering a career as a paralegal.

Paralegal Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Paralegals:Typical Work Activities:
•Reading Comprehension
•Active Listening
•Speaking
•Writing
•Critical Thinking
•Time Management
•Active Learning
•Coordination
•Oral Comprehension
•Oral Expression
•Written Comprehension
•Written Expression
•Near Vision
•Speech Clarity
•Information Ordering

•Desktop Computers
•Fax Machines
•Notebook Computers
•Photocopiers
•Scanners
•Interacting With Computers
•Getting Information
•Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work

Related Careers

Secretaries & Administrative Assistants

High School Diploma or Equivalent

What Do Related Careers Pay?