What is a paralegal
A paralegal is someone who is not a lawyer or other legal official, but works for an attorney, law office, governmental agency, corporation or other similar place. This includes doing research, writing reports, handling legal documents, applying the law to various events, coordinating with other officials and so on. However, paralegals cannot actively practice law or give legal advice.
The number of paralegal jobs available has risen in recent years, which is why there are now several study programs available. Before entering a program, interested individuals should check with their state bar association to determine what is needed in their state
Degrees in the paralegal field
There is no degree requirement to get a paralegal job. It is expected that individuals have at least a high school diploma or a GED. Experience in the legal or business field is also preferred. There are many degree programs following available like:
1. Paralegal Studies, Bachelors Degree
2. Legal Studies, Associates Degree
3. Paralegal Studies, Associates Degree
4. Legal Studies, Bachelors Degree
5. Paralegal Studies, Masters Degree
6. Legal Studies, Masters Degree
Paralegals can become certified through the National Association of Legal Assistants. Once a person obtains a degree, they can take the Association’s test and become certified. It’s not required, but it is an asset.
The average salary for a qualified paralegal is between $45,000 and $49,000 annually, depending on experience, location and the nature of the duties undertaken. Newly qualified paralegals can expect to earn significantly less. Those working for the government or in the Washington, DC area could expect to earn in excess of $75,000.
Common paralegal careers
There are several careers for paralegals. They can hold one of the following positions:
1. Legal Secretary –This is the most common paralegal position. A legal secretary helps prepare drafts and motions, coordinates with other legal professionals and usually works in an office.
2. Law Clerk – A law clerk assists in investigations, interviews clients and prepares legal documents for court or various cases that attorneys have at any given time.
3. Insurance Claim Handler – The paralegal gathers information and investigates insurance claims, applying the law as necessary to make sure that the right decisions are made on the claims.
4. Prosecution Caseworker – These paralegals work for a prosecuting attorney and do research on cases to make sure evidence is collected and accounted for.