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What is a Paralegal?

Browse available Paralegal Jobs. Paralegals are indispensable when it comes to law cases or lawyers. They are the eyes, ears and hands for lawyers. Paralegals do most of the running for lawyers and this obviously includes more jobs which they are supposed to do day in day out. And it is one of the hottest new jobs in the country with quite a handsome pay coming with it. Paralegals assist and liaise lawyers throughout a law process. They are the individuals who are seen running around and making the calls to speak. Paralegals act as support staff and assistants to attorneys. They are the ones who manage and provide them with the back-office support. A paralegal has to do whatever a lawyer needs to, except for fighting the case in court.

Paralegal Jobs Overview

If you want to work as a paralegal then you can expect some very busy days. You need to have a running knowledge of legal procedures and jargons to assist a lawyer. The fact is that you need to be as much on par in know-hows as the lawyer to be able to support him in a particular case. As a paralegal, expect to be the first individual to get in touch with a prospective client and perform scheduling and re-scheduling appointments or meetings time and time again.
Working as a paralegal is all about multi-tasking and management. Unlike freelance one-man legal aid agencies, large companies have more than one paralegal assisting a lawyer. Now, having more than one paralegal means distributing the tasks overall in and between each other. That’s because it is impossible for a single person to deal and manage the complete pressure work that lawyers and large agencies deal with every day.

Minimum Age to Be a Paralegal:

 The minimum age required to be a paralegal is a post-GED 18 years. However, you should not expect to get started just then and there, as experience plays an important role in this job sector.

Paralegal Education Requirements:

 If you have a high school diploma or GED or any other equivalent educational degree, then you can start studying up to be a paralegal. But it is a fact that more than 40% paralegals have a bachelors’ degree at their disposal.

Paralegal Job Description

This is one of the most lucrative fields for post-GEDs or pre-grads. And if you are any of them, you’re on the way to becoming another individual working in this job sector already amounting to over 300,000. This is one of the largest growing job sectors in the industry with a projected growth of over 15% in the coming years. That would mean an approximate 45,000 new paralegal vacancies for you.

Paralegal Job Duties and Responsibilities

If you are thinking about becoming a paralegal, these are the most important functions which you are will be expected to do:

  • Managing Court and e-filings along with other process related activities.
  • Labeling, indexing and filing documents ready-to-go for study, analysis and trial purposes.
  • Typing and proofreading contracts, trial letters, case studies and other similar legal files for final approval.
  • Correspondence including client management and services.
  • Managing calendar, memos and schedules.
  • Functioning with legal tools such as Lexis-Nexis etc.
  • Record-keeping and billing, i.e. complete historical data on clients and cases.

Paralegal Job Requirements

If you want to be taken on as a paralegal, these are the skills which you need to have to make sure you get started with the best possible legal firms for a bright career:

  • Superior legal writing skills in the specific required tone. A prior knowledge of legal jargons and phrases is compulsory.
  • Accurate management skills and sharp memory.
  • An aptitude to locate and find out details.
  • Mentality to handle work pressure and crunch scenarios.
  • Aptitude to assist in real-time during case studies and live trails.

How to Become a Paralegal

Post-GED or bachelors’, you can opt for vocational training programs accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) to become eligible for a paralegal certification (PR). These courses last for 7 to 17 months. You can become a Certified Paralegal (CP) after completing the National Federation of Paralegal Associations’ (NFPA) PACE registration examination.
You will come to find that experience is a very important criterion in this field. The best legal firms and prospects prefer candidates who have a bit of experience and the go-getter attitude. So, it’s not just about certification; gaining a year of experience before moving on to the best options may work out for you in the future.

Paralegal Salary

The current median of salaries for paralegals comes in at around and above $50,000 per annum. On an hourly basis, the figure comes up to $25. The best salaries come in at a bit over $60,000 p.a. It is for a fact that paralegals at private firms and agencies get the better salaries than those working in government agencies. Salaries for first-timers are likely to be just above the $40,000 p.a., although this varies according to the states and firms.

Paralegal Jobs