By The Chamber Coalition
A career as a paralegal (also known as a legal assistant) can be a wonderfully fulfilling profession. Paralegals perform legal , regulatory , and business-related research for lawyers working at their organization. Most of the time, paralegals work for law offices, non-profits, corporations’ legal departments, or courts. These professionals also provide legal support services to attorneys. They assist lawyers in filing motions, memoranda, pleadings, and briefs in various court systems and accompany lawyers to see clients and go to court. Here are five great things about being a paralegal:
1. Rise in Pay
Paralegal compensation has risen steadily in the past decade. As paralegals perform a broader and more complex range of tasks (paralegals even represent clients in court in certain countries and administrative tribunals), their earnings continue to rise. The average paralegal salary hovers at around $50,000 per year, but paralegals often make more through bonuses. Overtime hours can also add significant cash to a paralegal’s paycheck.
2. Explosive Employment Outlook
The paralegal field is one of the fastest-growing professions on the globe. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, predicts the employment of paralegals and legal assistants by over 25 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations. Among the factors driving this growth is client demand for cheaper, more efficient delivery of legal services. Since hourly rates charged by attorneys are typically double or triple the rates of paralegals for the same task, law firm economics mandates the increased use of paralegals to minimize costs. As a result, a paralegal career is one of the hottest non-lawyer jobs in the legal industry.
3. Easy Career Entry
Unlike lawyers who must complete seven years of formal education and pass the bar exam to practice law, you can become a paralegal in as little as a few months of study.
4. Intellectual Challenge
Paralegal work is intellectually challenging and involves a range of high-level skills. The most successful paralegals are problem-solvers and innovative thinkers. Paralegals must become subject matter experts in their specialty areas and master legal procedure, research, drafting, and other skills. They must stay on top of ever-changing laws and new legal trends and developments while interfacing with attorneys, opposing counsel, vendors, staff members, clients, and others. The work is varied, and each day brings new challenges.
5. Rising Prestige
As paralegals perform more complex and challenging work, paralegal prestige is rising. Paralegals are no longer simply lawyer’s assistants; they assume corporate management roles, leadership roles in law firms, and entrepreneurial roles in independent paralegal businesses. Over the years, paralegals have transcended the image of glorified legal secretaries to become respected legal team members.
Ready to Take the Leap?
A career as a paralegal can be rewarding professionally and personally and offers a unique opportunity to help others; options vary, depending on the paralegal’s practice area. Paralegals in the public interest sector help poor and disadvantaged segments of the population with legal issues ranging from protection from domestic abuse to assistance preparing wills. Ready to take the leap, the next step? Call us at 718-722-9217 or visit www.freeparalegal.org to complete your registration which includes payment.