Judges and lawyers are often the first individuals that come to mind when thinking of legal proceedings. However, behind those well-known professionals and public servants are paralegals. Sometimes referred to as legal assistants or legal secretaries, paralegals provide support and aid in matters relating to the law. They assist lawyers in research, file management, client and witness relations, and trial preparation. They are also a crucial part of any law firm that wants to work as efficiently as possible. Becoming a paralegal is a meaningful way to start your career in the legal field. Here are seven of the top reasons why you should join the paralegal profession.
In the paralegal field, you can find many different career pathways. Law firms across the country need qualified personnel to handle their essential and often sensitive casework. There are several fields of law you could pursue your career in, such as civil rights law, immigration law, environmental law, and criminal law. Additionally, modern workplaces are not just limited to a traditional, private law firm. There are also plenty of opportunities in the world of business. Most corporations have a legal team that handles internal legal services like legal documents review. Large organizations also regularly find themselves in a tangle of red tape that a staff of educated and dedicated paralegals can help solve. With all this in mind, relocating to any area of the country you desire is also an option. From Los Angeles to New York City and everywhere in between, the services of a paralegal will be in high demand.
With the large number of companies that need paralegals to contribute to their legal department , it is no wonder that the need for paralegals is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job outlook for paralegals will increase twelve percent by 2030. This growth also brings with it a level of job security. Wherever you go as a paralegal, you will be a valuable member of your organization. At any given moment, there will be a need for your services.
The great demand for paralegal services results in a strong starting salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a paralegal or legal assistant in the United States is $52,920 per year. The salary is expected to rise with the growing number of jobs available in the next ten years. In addition, those with more experience in the field can expect opportunities for advancement and demand upwards of $80,000 per year. Firms may also give bonuses and pay overtime, adding to your potential income.
Learning how a courtroom operates during a trial is valuable for anyone looking for work in the legal system. As a qualified paralegal, you will gain first-hand experience working in a courtroom and be able to track important legal trends. Paralegals work side-by-side with lawyers during court proceedings to keep track of records and testimony. Having support during a fast-paced session benefits lawyers, and paralegals are just the individuals to provide aid. The opportunity for paralegals to prove themselves as competent professionals who can handle themselves in high-pressure situations is a rewarding experience.
A paralegal career can offer a challenge that pushes you to work hard and be the best you can be. This role requires you to wear many hats and be open to the different tasks you may be required to do. You may be helping a client understand the particulars of a contract, conducting research on a case, and assisting a lawyer at court all in one day. Because of this, you will need a flexible mindset and strong communication skills to succeed in this role. Handling multiple cases at once, helping a confused client, or any other number of events may come your way as a paralegal.
Legal professionals often carry with them a certain level of prestige. Both lawyers and paralegals receive admiration and respect. The knowledge that you are working in a field that demands an advanced skill set will impress many people. This prestige can benefit your future job prospects even if your career goals move away from the courtroom.
Being a paralegal can give you a great avenue to help those who are less fortunate or in need of help. Depending on your firm’s area of expertise, you will have different opportunities to serve others as a paralegal. If you work for a personal injury lawyer, you could help injured people. If you are working for a law firm with a specialty in environmental law, you could help animals whose homes are destroyed by unlawful pollution or deforestation. Becoming a paralegal can present plenty of opportunities to serve others if you choose the right field.
The Paralegal Studies Certificate from LSU Online & Continuing Education can jumpstart your career as a paralegal. Our rigorous coursework provides the skills and knowledge you will need as a paralegal. Class sizes are small, so instructors can offer individual attention if necessary. Courses are 100% online and flexible, allowing you to work when and where you need to. Discover new opportunities with LSU Online & Continuing Education today!
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