Legal assistants or paralegals are highly paid individuals who work for lawyers and many can enter this profession with only a two year degree. Get familiar with what a legal assistant is and their job description before enrolling into a paralegal training program.
Legal Assistant Job Duties
Individuals who are planning to pursue a career as a legal assistant should get familiar with the job description of this profession.
Paralegal/Legal Assistant Job Duties & Responsibilities
The following are some of the more important functions for this occupation:
- Helps in generating reports for audits
- Understands the complexity of legal documents
- Supports in managing documents
- Maintains filing systems
- Researches legal documents
- Assists in preparing legal documents
- Aids in investigating cases
- Finds witnesses
- Provides trial assistance
- Drafts contracts, separation agreements, and the like.
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What A Legal Assistant Is Not Allowed To Do
In general, the job of a paralegal tackles legal services. However, they are not allowed to present cases in court, set legal fees, accept cases and offer legal advice. These are the only legal services that this profession cannot carry out.
On the other hand, your job description will depend on where you live. It will also vary as to what law you specialize in. Nevertheless, this occupation is considered as one of the fastest growing careers in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Appeals To You About This Career?
Where Do Legal Assistants Work?
In terms of the workplace, you can work in a private law firm, federal government and other organizations. The number of paralegals in a private law firm is lesser compared with those who are working in a government and corporate legal department. In 2009, the largest employer for this occupation was the US Department of Justice.
If you are planning to pursue a career in this field, you will be spending a lot of time in front of a computer. You will also devote significant amount of time researching in a legal library. When you work in a law firm, you will be working in a nice office with well-designed surroundings. However, if you will be hired in a corporate or government institution, you will be working in shared office space or in a cubicle.
Paralegal Types In ...
Top 5 Paralegal Specialization
Here are the top five areas that are in demand and also pay the highest.
- Personal Injury
- Corporate Law
- Family Law
- Commercial/Contract Law
Legal Assistant/Paralegal Training
In terms of education and training, completing a paralegal degree is the best way to get a job in this field. Paralegal Programs will introduce students to law and the different methods of legal research. As a student, you will be studying a specialized legal area. Specializing in a particular legal area will increase your chances of getting hired as employers prefer applicants to have specialized training. The reason for this is that firms are usually focusing on a specialized field.
The most common paralegal degree when pursuing a career in this area is associate's degree. It is being offered in various private and community colleges. It generally lasts up to two years.
Online paralegal schools - a brief overview of the various types of paralegal programs and a paralegal search engine (ParalegalSalaryFactsheet.com)
National Association of Legal Assistants-Paralegals is the nation (Nala.org)
NFPA The National Federation of Paralegal Associations - (Paralegals.org)
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Legal Assistant Skills
Becoming a paralegal is indeed a lucrative and enjoyable career - if you want to be successful in this career, you should hone your reading skills, time management skills, speaking and writing skills. You should also learn how to give your full attention when talking to people as active listening is also essential in this field. Plus, critical thinking is crucial if you want to succeed in this profession. Good luck in your quest to becoming a paralegal.