A paralegal assists lawyers
in performing their jobs. They help them with a variety of tasks, including preparing for trials, hearings and closings; doing research; and drafting legal documents. Paralegals are sometimes called legal assistants.
There were 264,000 employed in the U.S. in 2008.
Most aspiring paralegals receive associate degrees from paralegal training programs at community colleges. Those who already have bachelor's degrees earn certificates in paralegal studies. A few employers provide on-the-job training.
Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?
is available from local and national paralegal associations and can improve one's chances of finding employment.
The job outlook is excellent for paralegals. This occupation is projected to grow faster
, through 2018, than other occupations that require post-secondary training or an associate degree (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Why Do You Need to Know About Job Outlook?
Paralegals earned median hourly wages of $22.58 and a median annual salary
of $46,980 in 2009.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much a Paralegal currently earns in your city.
A Day in a Paralegal's Life:
On a typical day a paralegal's tasks might include:
- preparing legal documents such as affidavits, briefs and contracts
- maintaining documents using a paper or electronic filing system
- organizing exhibits for a trial
- meeting with clients to discuss details of cases
- filing pleadings with court clerks
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos114.htm (visited April 27, 2010).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/23-2011.00 (visited December 2, 2010).