Pursuing a career in law doesn’t mean you need to spend years and years in college and law school. If you are not ready to commit to law school, becoming a paralegal could be the best career choice for you. This path offers many benefits as you help those in your community find access to legal advice during their court cases. If you have been wondering how to become a paralegal in Missouri, we can help with much of the information you need to get you started.
Paralegals work alongside lawyers providing assistance in court cases. This profession does not take strenuous training or expensive educational programs. Let’s take a look at some FAQs concerning becoming a paralegal in Missouri.
What Is A Paralegal?
A paralegal is a professional who provides assistance to lawyers within a law firm. They are responsible for helping the attorneys move cases smoothly through the court system so that clients are ensured of fair and equitable treatment. They will help to prepare cases and interview clients. This important service helps both clients and communities. Paralegals are also often expected to perform administrative tasks to help the law office run more smoothly and efficiently. Other tasks might include taking calls, gathering important information as it pertains to a case, gathering evidence for a case, and other tasks as well.
This occupation will give you the satisfaction of working closely with lawyers as they operate in the justice system.
What Types of Skills Are Needed?
If you are wondering how to become a paralegal in Missouri, you will first need to evaluate the personal skills you will be bringing to this profession. There are Missouri paralegal programs that can help prepare you for success, but your existing personal skills will be foundational to this profession. Let’s look at some of the personal skills you will need to excel in this field.
Communication Skills- Your communication skills will be of the utmost importance. In the justice system, there is a great amount of information that must be processed and shared. It is imperative that information is shared accurately and in a timely manner. Your communication skills will come into play in this respect. You will be expected to write documents on a regular basis, so it is important that you have excellent written communication skills. You will also be expected to take phone calls and make phone calls. While you are communicating with clients, court officials, and other lawyers, you need to be able to give and receive information quickly and accurately.
Reading Comprehension- As a paralegal, you will also be called upon to read and review large amounts of information likely on a daily basis. Ensuring that this information is gathered accurately will be vital to the client’s case. Your reading comprehension will be very important in this task.
Ethics- Although ethics is not technically a skill, it is a personal characteristic you must bring to this occupation. While dealing with sensitive information as it pertains to cases, it is important that the law office you work for and the client can depend on your high standards of ethics. Your standard of ethics will come into play each time you deal with a client and their information.
What Type of Training Is Available?
Missouri paralegal programs will help to prepare you for success. You can pursue a paralegal degree program either online or on campus. There are many community colleges and larger universities that offer a paralegal degree program. An online paralegal degree offers the greatest amount of flexibility.
Many law offices are willing to train a paralegal on the job. You should note, however, that this type of training does not necessarily prepare you for job opportunities everywhere. In order to have the best chances of employment, you will want to find accredited Missouri paralegal programs.
These types of programs will provide coursework that helps students better understand the justice system as a whole and the specific court systems of the state of Missouri. Course work will also help train students in the important elements of ethics in the field of law.
Paralegal studies can be completed as either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. An associate’s program will take about 2 years to complete while a bachelor’s degree will take about 4 years to complete.
What Kind of Salary Can I Make?
It is important that you are aware of what type of salary your chosen profession will provide. This is especially important if you will be incurring any student debt. You want to know that you will be able to pay off your student debt soon after obtaining employment in your chosen field. The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median income for this profession is approximately $52,920 annually. There is a projection that this occupation will grow by 12% in the next 9 years. This means that those entering this field will enjoy job security.