Paralegal Certification: A Pathway To A Rewarding Career

Paralegal certification can be the first step to a rewarding and lucrative career. Many law firms, large corporations, small law firms, businesses and government agencies utilize the services of paralegals to provide assistance to attorneys and deliver services to clients in a cost effective manner. Depending upon the area of law, legal jobs are often recession proof.

The job outlook for paralegals, also known as legal assistants, is very promising. It continues to be one of the fastest-growing careers in the US. In order to get a good foundation it is important for you pick the right school. When choosing a school you will want to verify the school meets American Bar Association standards. This will assure you that the school you are spending your time and money on meets the minimum standards that many employers will look for.

In your career you will assist attorneys by conducting client interviews to gather information, drafting legal documents, trial preparation and various other duties. The type of assignments that you may undertake will vary depending upon the type of firm, or agency, that you work with, as well as your skill level and experience. In most firms, or companies, you will receive increasingly difficult and important tasks as you gain more experience.

In a legal studies program, you will learn how to conduct legal research and develop writing skills. Additionally, you will also learn the basics of several areas of law. These often include the rules of civil procedure; family/divorce law; bankruptcy; criminal law; wills and trusts and real estate law. These courses will give you the foundation to build upon as you become employed, whether it be at law firm, corporate law department or government agency.

You should expect to work 40 to 60 hours a week depending upon the area of law, workload of the firm or the attorney that you work with. Normally the work is limited to indoors. However, depending on the area of law the paralegal may spend a considerable amount of time visiting jails, hospitals, nursing homes or visiting scenes where accidents have occurred.

Individuals with a natural curiosity who like to conduct research, investigate, interview people and write are best suited for this career. They must be well-organized and be able to work well under pressure, while multitasking and meeting various deadlines. Experienced paralegals are often assigned supervisory or office management tasks. The successful paralegal will have excellent computer skills, as well as a command of English language and grammar.

A new, and fast-growing, trend for experienced legal assistants is to perform duties for several law firms, or attorneys, as a virtual assistant. In order to do so, you generally must possess your paralegal training and experience. Many virtual legal assistants can earn as much as $100,000 per year. Prime areas of law for virtual paralegals are bankruptcy; incorporation; corporate governance; wills and trusts in litigation.

Paralegal certification can be your first step towards a rewarding and satisfying career. It can give you the satisfaction of knowing that you're providing a vital and important service. Many legal assistants go on to become attorneys, often studying law at night school, while gaining valuable experience as a paralegal.

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