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published June 25, 2009
What does a Paralegal Do?
A crucial part of any legal firm, a paralegal is hired to help and aid lawyers with jobs like interviewing clients and potential witnesses, doing research on cases of precedence, helping with office work, and much more! Just about the only things that paralegals, also known as law clerks, cannot do for lawyers is anything considered to be the practice of law, like arguing in court, filing briefs, or giving legal advice.
Different Areas of Work
Because there are so many areas of law for attorneys to practice, the possibilities for paralegals are nearly endless! Paralegals can find work in areas such as compliance and contracts, employment, finance, family law, government, immigration, in-house, intellectual property, litigation, medical/healthcare, patent/patent prosecution, public interest, real estate, tax, trademark, transactional, transportation, trust and estate, and many more!
How to Become a Paralegal
There are a few ways to begin your career as a paralegal. First of all, some attorneys and law firms do not require their paralegals to have any formal education, and prefer to train them on-the-job. So, prior to going to school, check with some law firms in your area to see if they would consider hiring and training you.
However, the majority of firms do require that the paralegals they hire have some kind of degree or certificate in the paralegal field. Many working paralegals hold at least an associate's degree, if not a bachelor's degree. Many universities, community colleges, and technical colleges offer these degrees, or even certificates. And with a good majority of schools offering night or on-line classes, working adults can still pursue their degrees in paralegal work.
Any additional knowledge or the law that can be obtained by those looking to work as a paralegal will be beneficial, as paralegals need to have a good understanding of the laws.
Employment Outlook for Paralegals
Law firms are learning that with today's tough economy, paralegals are really an asset to have on their staff. This is because while paralegals are certainly not interchangeable with attorneys, they can do a lot of the work that they can do at half of the cost! So, the employment outlook for paralegals is on the rise.
A Quick Insight to the Paralegal Profession
What Being a Lawyer Is Really Like
Various Types of Paralegal Jobs