In recent years, the profession of a paralegal has seen an explosive growth. According to reports, the paralegal profession will see a greater increase in the future. This profession is known to be challenging yet rewarding. It demands strong professional skills, a firm ethical foundation and higher levels of knowledge.
If your are looking for something unique and if law interests you, paralegal studies is a great option.
This section is about who, what and how of paralegal studies. Read further to know more on this unique profession.
Who is a Paralegal?
Paralegal is defined as a person who is qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work. This requires knowledge of legal concepts and are not exclusively performed by a lawyer.
Paralegals are hired or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity that is authorised by administrative, statutory or court authority.
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What are the responsibilities of a Paralegal?
- Paralegal is generally a part of the support staff in most law firms.
- You can be a direct assistant to a single attorney.
- Being a paralegal you will have to do a great deal of paperwork and research.
- Tasks you perform may free up lawyers, so they can work on larger cases.
Duties as a paralegal also include:
- Interaction with clients
- Preparation of cases
- Perform legal research
- Provide assistance to lawyers in the courtroom
Though you are a certified paralegal, you cannot set legal fees, offer legal advice or present cases in a court of law.
Where do Paralegals work?
- Paralegals are employed in almost every office where legal work is performed.
- Paralegals can gain employment in private law firms, banks, corporations, insurance agencies, courts, government agencies, accounting firms, title companies, engineering firms, construction companies and legal aid offices.
- Generally, paralegals work with attorneys or with individuals who are explicitly authorised by statute court authority.
How to earn a Paralegal degree?
For a successful career as a paralegal, finding the right programme that fits your educational and career goals is important. For a career as a paralegal, there are different pathways. First thing you need to decide is what type of paralegal degree you want to pursue.
Paralegal programmes include several levels of degrees including:
- One year certificate or diploma: Certificate programmes can be finished in 1-2 years. It is the most economical and fastest way to paralegal education.
- Associate's Degree: Associate degree programmes take two years to complete. These programmes are mostly designed for people who work during the day.
- Bachelor's degree: Bachelor degree programmes are of four-year college or universities.
- Master's degree: A few universities offer master's degree programmes in legal studies.
- Online Paralegal Programmes: Online programmes are good for those who seek additional flexibility and convenience.
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What are career advancements for a paralegal?
- Qualified and experienced paralegals are qualified to search for several opportunities within career fields like law firms, government agencies or insurance companies.
- Advanced career opportunities are available based on performance of an individual and personal skills and knowledge.