Paralegal Career Profile
By Cixx Admin Date Posted.. 2009-07-06 19:22:27
Views (4798)

Paralegal Legal 

Description:  Lawyers are consumed with a number of different tasks, and that’s when they relegate some of the tasks to a paralegal.  They are also known as legal assistants, and they perform a growing range of jobs.  They do not actually perform any tasks that directly affect the practice of law.  They are never allowed to give legal advice or present cases in court, for obvious reasons.  However, a paralegal will do a lot of the behind the scenes work that helps the lawyer complete their job for a case.

A paralegal is mostly responsible for helping a lawyer to prepare for legal proceedings, closings, hearing and trials.  They do this by investigating the facts of cases to make sure that all the information is relevant and accurate.  They also have the job of finding the appropriate laws, articles, and other materials that are pertinent in each case they handle.   After researching and organizing relevant information, the paralegal will prepare written reports and present their findings to the attorney.  When a case is being handled by a lawyer, the paralegal will go as far as to help with legal arguments, obtain affidavits, and assist during the time of trial. 

Paralegals are also responsible for accurately tracking and filing information from various cases so that this information can easily be found by the attorney at a later date.   All in all, the paralegal does a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes, and is an integral support to attorneys.  A great understanding of the law, legal documents, and exceptional communication are all needed to be a successful paralegal.

Statistics:  The projected growth for a career as a paralegal is 22% in the next 8 years according to the Bureau of Statistics.  This is a faster than average growth due to the attorneys’ continued allocation of more duties to the paralegal.  As their list of duties continues to grow to free up more time for the lawyer, the position continues to grow in demand in the legal profession.

Training:  There are a number of programs that will train someone to be a paralegal, including community college courses and vocational schools around the country.  These programs will generally lead to an associate degree.  You can also earn a certificate in paralegal studies, with also a handful of schools offering bachelors and master’s degrees in paralegal studies.   A very small portion of paralegals are trained on the job.

Salary:  Earnings vary greatly among paralegals, and this depends upon education, experience, and where you work as a paralegal.  If you’re working as a paralegal in a metropolitan area, your salary will be much greater.   The average income for a full time paralegal in 2006 was $43,040, with a more predictable range of $33,920 to $54,690. 

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