So You Want to Be a Paralegal?
Thinking about embarking on a career as a paralegal? Find out what’s in store for you here. If you need more reasons to become a paralegal, we’ve got you covered.
In the US, paralegals can expect to make well above minimum wage. In 2015, for example, paralegals’ median income was at $48,810 annually, translating to $23.10 an hour, according to the US Bureau of Labor.
Paralegals are always in demand, as firms seek to streamline their operations and move nonessential tasks away from legal personnel. In 2014, there were an estimated 279,000 job openings for paralegals in the United States, with that number expected to rise, because…
In the 10-year period between 2008 and 2018, the demand for paralegals is expected to increase by an estimated 28%. Law firms will continue to need support staff, and as the number of lawyers increases, the number of staff needed will likely increase as well.
Ease of entry
Becoming a paralegal is a relatively easy way to get a foot in the door of the legal profession. A certificate course in paralegal studies can be completed in as little as six weeks, and could pave the way to earning further certification as a paralegal.
Multiple education options
There are so many paths to becoming a paralegal. For those looking for a path using the traditional educational model, two-year associate and four-year bachelor’s courses in paralegal studies are offered by many respected universities and community colleges alike. On the other hand, nontraditional options, such as e-learning courses and certificate programs, are also available for individuals who may not be inclined to formal learning.
Opportunities in other industries
With experience in being a paralegal, transferring to another industry is relatively easy. Many other industries, such as the financial sector or even government, have need of the skills that make paralegals vital allies to their attorney partners.
Finding your niche
On the other hand, if you find that you really do like working in the legal sector, extended exposure to it may lead you to select a particular branch of the law to continue to focus on. This could be anything from corporate law, to real estate law, to criminal law, or even litigation.
Opportunities to relocate
This was implied in an earlier point, but needs to be stated explicitly: the need for paralegals continues to grow, and that need is expressed throughout the US. If you’re looking to make a move, choosing a career as a paralegal may make your decision easier, as looking for work will be relatively easy no matter where you end up in the US.
No two cases will ever be the same, so the challenges faced by lawyers and their allies will always be changing as well. If you’re looking for consistently new challenges and the opportunity to learn and grow, a career as a paralegal may be for you.
Making a difference
Ensuring that people’s rights are respected and that the law is upheld is often its own reward. As a paralegal, you can help protect people and defend the constitution, in your own way.