Georgia, the Peach State, offers many exciting career opportunities, particularly in the more metropolitan areas. However, if you’re looking for a legal career that is rewarding and easy to enter, you should consider becoming a Georgia paralegal. Unlike legal secretaries that mostly deal in record keeping, paralegals work alongside licensed attorneys and perform many of the same duties.
Georgia has not passed any laws to regulate how one would become a paralegal, which can make it difficult to know how to enter the profession. Luckily, by getting the right education and applying for national certification, you can easily become a Georgia paralegal.
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How to Become a Paralegal in Georgia
- Certification: Certification is not required to become a paralegal in Georgia.
- Age: You must be over 18 before entering the paralegal field.
- Licensure: Georgie does not license paralegals.
- Degree: Although many paralegals choose a certificate program, a two or four-year degree program approved by the American Bar Association is recommended.
- Experience: Gaining work experience after degree completion is key. Many choose to enroll in internship programs or work pro bono.
- Citizenship: US citizens and legal aliens who reside in Georgia can become paralegals.
- Background: Law firms that hire paralegals may request that candidates submit to a criminal background check.
- Ethics: When working as a paralegal, you should be sure to follow professional ethics.
Certification Process in Georgia
Georgia is one of the many states that does not require certification or formal education to work as a paralegal. Paralegals are legally allowed to perform many legal tasks while under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
To improve your career prospects, however, it is a good idea to seek certification through a national organization like the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). You can achieve NALA certification through exam or curriculum, and becoming certified will make it easier for you to be hired by some of the state’s top firms.
Degrees Related to Paralegals
A paralegal studies degree or certificate is the most common educational path for those entering the paralegal profession. Some aspiring paralegals may also pursue a criminal justice degree. While studying to be a paralegal you can take courses in specific legal areas, such as business law and family law, as well as courses on legal research and legal writing.
Major Cities in Georgia
- The largest city in Georgia is Atlanta, which is home to 447,841 residents.
- 197,872 people live in Augusta. It is the second largest Georgia city.
- Savannah is the third largest Georgia city, and has population of 142,722.
What Does a Paralegal Do in Georgia?
A paralegal is responsible for many of the same tasks that we associate with an attorney. While paralegals cannot offer legal advice or argue cases in court, they are able to write legal contracts, investigate evidence and interview people related to a case, inform clients about the progress of their case and can file briefs and exhibits with the court.
A legal assistant performs most of the same duties as a paralegal, and they are often considered to be the exact same job. Legal secretaries may have some limited similarities to paralegals. Claims adjusters are also responsible for many of the same tasks as working as a paralegal.
Paralegal Employment Numbers in Georgia
The Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent numbers indicate that there were 7,750 paralegals working in Georgia in 2015.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Paralegal Salary Ranges in Georgia
Atlanta paralegals can make an annual mean wage of $55,880. In Macon, the average salary is $50,630. Athens paralegals can make $43,220.
Georgia Related Organizational Links
Education Programs for Paralegals in Georgia
- Legal Studies, BA
- Paralegal Studies, AA
- Master of Divinitiy - Law Studies
- Master of Business Administration in International Legal Studies
- Master of Business Administration in American Legal Studies
- Master of Science in Legal Studies
- Associate of Applied Science in Legal Support and Services
- Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Studies Certificate
- Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Management
- Undergraduate in Legal Studies
- BS in Legal Support and Services - Paralegal Concentration