Paralegals are people who are trained to assist lawyers. They typically have the training and credentials needed to work in the legal field, but are not qualified as lawyers.
Paralegals conduct research for cases, organize information, keep records, write reports, draft documents and assist lawyers during trials. Depending on the size of a law firm, paralegals may work on an entire case a particular phase of a case. About 70 percent of paralegals work for legal service firms, while others work for state and local governments, the federal government and finance and insurance companies.
Most paralegals have either an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or a bachelor’s degree in a related field with a certificate in paralegal studies. Some employers will hire graduates with bachelor’s degrees and no prior paralegal experience, and train them on the job. There are over a thousand colleges that offer paralegal training programs, however, only one fifth of those programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
The median salary for a paralegal in 2010 was 46,860 dollars, with the lowest ten percent of workers earning less than 29,460 dollars and the highest ten percent earning more than 74,870 dollars. Paralegals who work in large cities or work for large law firms tend to earn more. Paralegal careers are expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, slightly faster than the national average growth of 14 percent.
Here are some resources to help you in your paralegal career:
- Top 25 Paralegal Schools for Job Placement
- What are the different types of paralegal jobs?
- Paralegal Job Description
- Are there paralegal jobs in the military?
- What does a typical paralegal career track look like?
- What is an average paralegal salary?
- Top Attorney Jobs
- Top States for Paralegal Jobs
- Top Cities for Paralegal Jobs