Monday, August 17, 2009

Career as a Paralegal

Becoming a paralegal needs a great effort and sound knowledge in laws and regulations. It is usually a very highly paid career but is most cases, it is exchanged with long hours of working. They are also addressed as legal assistant but both have the same job function assisting lawyers and attorney. The difference is the job done by a paralegal is charged to the clients just like a lawyers' time. It is almost certain that becoming a paralegal is not the most difficult but the practical job itself is the hardest. Despite the pressure, most paralegals do well in their job. Afterall, they are all specially trained.

Although becoming a paralegal need a series of formal education and training system, some become paralegal through accumulation of legal and law experience in work place. For example, one can be a legal secretary for years before becoming a paralegal through promotion. Those paralegal usually enhance their profession by obtaining paralegal certification later on. Even though it is not mandatory to have a certificate in paralegal employment, it is definitely beneficial in terms of income potential, creditability and career prospect. It also shows the commitment of a person in the field. Other than that, it should complete the skill sets needed as a all rounder paralegal.

The workloads of paralegals are usually heavy as they do most of the practical job and they are all very significant. This is the reason why a paralegal has to be a very distinguished organizational skill to cope with all the job scope. Paralegals will do basically everything a lawyer does except for giving legal advice, setting fees or try cases. Besides, having a good writing skill is also a much needed skill. Not to forget the ability to communicate

A paralegal can come from a person who is specialized in certain field such as taxes, criminal justice and so on. That is why paralegals are not only hired by lawyers and attorneys, but also almost every corporation and companies. Most are hired for their specialization. It can be even very specific such as specialization in certain chapter of corporate, family, litigation, trademark, and criminal laws. As laws and regulations getting more and more complex, the demand for paralegals in the market is increasing over time. Hence, for whichever area of law a paralegal choose to specialized is normally a good career move.

The demand for paralegal is growing as a faster rate than average growth because of the increasing employment from legal firm. Lawyers and attorneys gradually hand over more responsibility to paralegals. In doing so, they get extra time to provide legal services to more clients which then generate more profit of course. So, paralegals are very important for legal firm to make more profit. Although a lot of corporation from different industries such as banking and insurance, legal firms remain as the top employer of paralegals as they contribute directly to the profit of the firms. Having said so, the number of employment from these corporations are also increasing as the need of legal services in specific areas such as intellectual property, environmental law and so on are required.

Most paralegals spend a lot of time working especially when the employers are big corporate firms. It is a norm where a paralegal spends more than 50 hours at work weekly. It could be even longer when there are deadlines to meet. It is common in a law firm. However, there are paralegals who work only on certain period of the year where it is the busiest time such as end of a fiscal year.

While it involve tremendous amount of hard work, the salary is a good compensation. For a fresh paralegal who has less than 2 years of experience has a salary range of $35000 to $45000 averagely. Those with more than 2 years experience have about $45000 to $58000. It is obvious that the income potential increase handsomely. A paralegal who reaches managerial level can expect up to 6 digits income per annum. Even the lowest paid paralegals get paid averagely $28000 anually. The reason why they are highly paid is because they are highly capable to perform many tasks without supervision of lawyers or attorneys. It saves the lawyers a huge deal of time. The more time lawyers have with the clients, the more profit the firms make.

There are approximately 620 paralegal education programs in the States offering bachelor, associate, master and certificate degree programs if you are thinking of becoming a paralegal even at age 40 or so.

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