Best Jobs U.S News and World Report has ranked Paralegal work #15 in the best social jobs category, for the year 2017. There is a popular saying in the legal world and it goes something like, “behind every prodigious lawyer, is a prodigious paralegal.” Many will argue that there is truth in this saying because the paralegal is the one who aids attorneys in practically every aspect of the legal profession. They help draft motions, summarize reports of a legal standard, and ultimately lighten the load for the lawyers tremendously.
Just like lawyers, paralegals too can specialize in specific types of law including corporate, family, and criminal and immigration law. Paralegals are also referred to as legal assistants and their involvement, in any case, is determined by their employers as well as attorneys they work with in each case. While some are given greater responsibility with autonomy, others are offered smaller roles with great supervision. Although paralegals work behind the scene, they are an integral part in every successful case. They work in different settings but more often than not are employed by government agencies, law firms and legal departments in corporations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected an 8% growth in the employment of paralegals between the year 2014 and 2024 this growth will produce 21,200 vacancies. Legal firms, in particular, are expected to hire more legal assistants and paralegals so as to cut costs and increase efficiency. This is, therefore, a great time for anyone who hopes to work in a legal profession but is not keen on becoming a lawyer, to try their hand at being a paralegal.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL) found that paralegal job is the 15th best job among Social Services jobs. The ranking is based on a variety of factors. BSL also reports that the average annual salary for a paralegal stood at $48,810. This has number has done up to date because the demand for paralegals has also gone up. The highest paid paralegals make an excess of $79,000 annually while the lowest paid get approximately $30,000 annually. The areas that pay top dollar for paralegal services include the District of Columbia, San Francisco, California and San Jose.
There are no established requirements for those wishing to work as paralegals. One can either join a community college and pursue an assistant degree in paralegal studies, or get a bachelor’s degree then obtain a certificate in paralegal studies upon graduation. The certificate programs will only take a couple of months and are intensive and guaranteed to equip everyone who undertakes them with the necessary skills needed to do paralegal work. It is important to note that before enrolling for either a certificate program or associate degree, one should do research on the rate of placement for recent graduates. More often than not, paralegals will have to complete an internship program before being hired by any law firm or organization.