Diversity is never an issue when it comes to a career in paralegal services. With a certificate in paralegal studies, you can find work in various legal settings. You have a lot of avenues to choose from, making it a very exciting career path.
How to Become a Paralegal
There are actually several different paths towards becoming a paralegal certified by the National Association of Legal Assistants. If you have the time and resources, one way to become a paralegal is to complete an associate or bachelor’s course for it at a community college or university. An associate course will take around four semesters or two years to complete, while a bachelor’s degree will take around eight semesters, or four years. Both options will provide a solid academic grounding, in addition to the specialized coursework necessary for a career as a paralegal.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to change careers midstream, a certificate course in paralegal studies offers a lot of flexibility. Some of these are even available online, to be completed at the learner’s pace. While this path is no guarantee to the start of a career as a paralegal, it does provide a credential that can be added to the resume to make it more attractive to hiring law firms.
The list of paralegal career options is indeed long. A paralegal certificate, coupled with a mix of hard work and the right mindset, can give you a truly rewarding career. Here are a few career paths that you can take with a paralegal certificate under your belt:
- Corporate Paralegals
The duties of corporate paralegals often include assisting lawyers as they prepare contracts, agreements, stock options, as well as financial reports. They are an integral part of legal teams. In addition, legal firms may require paralegals to keep track of government regulations.
- Litigation Paralegals
The participation of paralegals during litigation cases can vary from firm to firm. Your tasks and responsibilities may range from maintaining documents and conducting research to participating in the trial, investigation, and arbitration processes.
- Transactional Paralegals
Mergers, acquisitions, and other such transactions. When it comes to these, legal firms rely on their transactional paralegals to participate. Again, depending on the setting of the firm, the areas of work may vary, but you will regularly participate in the dealings.
Eventually, paralegals who practice alongside the same lawyers for years eventually become specialized in the same fields of law that their partners do. Consequently, paralegals have knowledge of jurisprudence and past instances that would be relevant, and in some cases, vital, to their attorney partners.
Paralegals who eventually specialize in bankruptcy law can expect to be constantly filing papers and preparing documents. This is because of the highly document-intensive nature of bankruptcy proceedings, including everything from tax receipts and documentation of ownership to deeds of sale and many other legal documents. What’s more, bankruptcy paralegals may even subspecialize further into corporate or individual bankruptcy paralegals, as both can declare bankruptcy in the eyes of the law.
Criminal Law Paralegal
Criminal law paralegals could end up working on either side of the bench: if employed by the court, they can expect to assist judges and justices, or they could also be working for either the prosecution or the defense. When working with the court, they could be expected to assist with past similar decisions and rulings. On the other hand, when working with attorneys assigned to the case, they could be assigned to depose witnesses, take statements, or file evidence.
Corporate Law Paralegal
It’s possible that a paralegal could forego working at a law firm altogether, and instead work for a corporation’s in-house legal department. In this case, they would likely be responsible for corporate document preparation, filing, and other legal duties.
Though there are times when the paralegal term may not be in use for a particular position, there are still many positions that require paralegal skills without formally using the paralegal title.
Paralegalism is one of the fastest growing careers in the country. With such a high demand, you can be sure to land a job and start your career on the right track. Paralegal studies opens up a lot of doors in the legal world. Start your career on the right foot and enroll today. For more information about online or live paralegal training, paralegal certifications, or our other training courses for the legal support field, give us a call at 1 (800) 522-7737.