What does a Paralegal do?
Paralegals, also known as legal advisors, work with lawyers by assisting them in their work. This includes investigation, research, and preparing reports. Paralegals also prepare cases and so have to study the law, research on case law and the relevant judgments. Where these are tasks that are typically expected from paralegals, there are other related job descriptions which all depend on where you are working. If you are working with a company or a bank, you might have to draft contracts, mortgages, income tax returns and other financial documents.
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There are many tasks that have to be taken care of by paralegals. Paralegal careers involve a number of responsibilities that include:
Interviewing clients as well as witnesses
Drafting pleadings, subpoenas, motions, deposition notices, and briefings
Organizing and managing files
Keeping a record of all information
Assist lawyers at hearings, proceedings, arbitrations and trials.
The job of a paralegal includes working in an office. There are several jobs available in many different types of organizations, but all essentially consist of doing a full-time desk job. Sometimes, extra effort needs to be put in for meeting deadlines.
Becoming a paralegal will require you to have completed at least a two-year associate degree, or a four-year bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. Sometimes, even having some experience in the paralegal field can be sufficient to help you land a job, as is the case with most people who start out as legal secretaries but then work towards the position job of a paralegal.
Paralegal careers place emphasis on reading and writing skills. Paralegals must be able to go through large volumes of information and have sufficient understanding of legal terminology that is used in judgments and law journals. Apart from reading and writing skills, they must be good at dealing with people from many different backgrounds so as to elicit information from them.
Salary and Job Outlook
There are many opportunities in the field of legal services, local government, federal executive branch, state government and in law firms. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals earned a median annual salary of $46,990 a year in May 2012. the BLS further states that the job opportunities for paralegals are expected to increase by 18% within the 2010 - 2020 period. Many businesses, whether small scale or large scale want general advice on the legal aspects of running a business and look towards hiring paralegals. Paralegals can also potentially take up jobs as law clerks, researchers, abstractors and title examiners.
Top Paying Industries
The industries which may have better job prospects and growth opportunities for paralegals are:
Electronic shopping and mail-order houses
Electronic component manufacturing companies and semiconductor manufacturing companies
Securities and commodity contracts inter-mediation and brokerage
Q:What are my job prospects with a general practice paralegal qualification?
A:The employment outlook for a professional with a general practice paralegal qualification is favorable. This sector is expected to grow by 25% in the next six years. Paralegals can find themselves working in a variety of settings from federal facilities to private law offices. Prospective students are advised to search our website for a list of institutions offering these courses.
Q:While going through careers in Paralegal Studies, I came across Bachelor in Paralegal program. Can you brief me on the course work?
A:The search on careers in Paralegal Studies often leads you to various degree programs such as Bachelor in Paralegal. In this four year program, the students will be taught courses such as introduction to paralegal studies, drafting legal documents, legal ethics & law office organization, law office technology, advanced legal research and writing, civil litigation and criminal law and procedure.
Q:What skills do I need to have to have possible careers in paralegal or legal services?
A:Aside from educational requirements, careers in paralegal or legal services require; communication skills, analytical skills, business writing skills, decision making skills and problem solving skills. These skills will enable you to be a rational thinker in matters of importance. Careers in legal and paralegal services also require patience and adaptability to changing situations. Paralegals specially need strong research skills as that is a large part of their job.
Q:What is a Paralegal Career like?
A:A career as a paralegal requires full time work, with chances of overtime to meet deadlines. Paralegal work in law offices and perform tasks to support lawyers in their administrative or research work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals had an annual median pay of $46,990 in 2012 while the expected job growth from 2012 to 2022 is 17%.
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