Paralegals work alongside lawyers and attorneys, helping them prepare their trial cases as well as other legal business. Although lawyers are the ones who assume the responsibility for legal matters, they often delegate tasks to paralegals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these days paralegals are assuming more responsibilities in legal matters than ever before. Most of the case preparation and legal research is carried out by paralegals. However, a paralegal cannot actually present a case or give legal advice.
What makes a career as a paralegal a good option is the great pay check and the (much) faster-than-average growth rate of job opportunities. If you are thinking of pursuing a career as a paralegal, it is crucial that you opt for the proper paralegal training program to acquire the skill set required to meet the demands of the job. In this article we will discuss the various options one has for paralegal training programs and other relevant aspects regarding this profession.
Paralegal Training Programs: Nature of the Job
As a paralegal your main task will be to assist the lawyer in all kinds of legal matters. A paralegal will help lawyers prepare for trials, hearings, closings and corporate meetings. This will include investigating case facts, laws, legal articles and judicial decisions relevant to the case assigned to the lawyer. Typical employers for paralegals include the government, corporations and law firms.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, law firms are the top employers, with 71 percent paralegals working in legal offices. Also, the tasks of paralegals differ based on the type of organization they work for. For instance, a corporate paralegal may assist lawyers with employee contracts. Advanced paralegal training programs are also available which help aspirants develop the skills required in these specific areas.
Paralegal Training Programs: Earnings and Job Outlook
According to the May 2009 figures from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals have a mean hourly wage of $24.08, which translates into a mean annual income of $50,080. The top ten percent raked in $75,700 annually, which is a mindboggling figure. The salaries depend on the experience, education and training of the applicant, so make sure you pick the right paralegal training course. Also, projected data from the National Employment Matrix shows that job openings are set to grow by 28 percent during the 2008-2018 decade. Right now is probably the best time to enroll in an appropriate paralegal training program to reach out and grab this amazing career opportunity.
Paralegal Training Programs: Your Options
Many paralegal aspirants opt for an associate degree in paralegal studies. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer associate degree programs for paralegal studies. Aspirants who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field can opt for a certificate paralegal training program. These paralegal certificate programs provide intensive training in paralegal studies. The duration of these programs, however, vary, some of them even taking only a few months. The associate and bachelor degrees generally combine paralegal studies with other academic subjects. Paralegal programs generally include training in legal research and the application of computers for legal purposes. Some programs also offer internships, where aspirants gain practical experience.