Thinking about starting a career as a legal assistant?
Imagine going from nowhere to a great career in just a few short months. Legal assistant and paralegal programs could be the way to achieve it.
You’ll be a working professional in the legal business, doing many of the things that a lawyer commonly does, but without the personal and financial commitment of spending years in law school. You can train at either a local campus or an online school.
Legal Assistant and Paralegal Career Profile
Paralegals — sometimes called legal assistants — help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. They often perform complex research duties, compiling information and writing reports that lend credibility to a legal position.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to increase 20 percent through 2020. This is much faster than the national average for all occupations.
There will be an increase in the demand for paralegals with specific industry experience, such as real estate, bankruptcy, medical malpractice, and product liability. Along with the jobs with law firms, career opportunities also exist in Federal, State, and local government agencies, consumer organizations, and the court systems.
Training, Certification and Degrees
There are about 1,000 colleges and universities, law schools, and proprietary schools that offer formal legal assistant training programs either online or on-campus; of those, approximately 260 programs are approved by the American Bar Association. Academic credentials for paralegals range from a certificate to a Master’s degree.
With respect to certification, The National Association of Legal Assistants offers the Certified Legal Assistant, the Certified Paralegal, and the Advanced Paralegal Certification. In addition, the National Federation of Paralegal Association offers the Registered Paralegal certification to professionals who have a bachelor’s degree, at least two years of experience, and can pass the examination test.
As you get closer to graduation, these schools work hard to provide job placement assistance. This assistance continues throughout your career.
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Maybe the legal field isn’t really right for you. You can check out other fields in the liberal arts category to find one that fits your strengths and interests.