Paralegal Job Description & Career Outlook
A paralegal, or legal assistant, typically works in private law firms and performs many of the tasks of attorneys. Paralegals assist attorneys by preparing for hearings, trials, and meetings. A paralegal job description includes investigation of the facts of a case, collection of documents from a variety of sources, and legal case research. In a paralegal career, you prepare written reports and legal documents, draft pleadings and motions to be filed with the court, and assist attorneys during trials. Outside of courtroom preparation, they may prepare civil documents such as wills, contracts, mortgages, and separation agreements. In spite of all of these duties, they are prohibited from doing tasks that are considered “practicing law.” Visit the Paralegal Degree page to learn how to become a paralegal.
Paralegal Salary and Benefits
A paralegal salary often depends on education, training, years of experience, the location of the job, and law firm size. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for paralegals in the United States is $46,730 and the top 10% earn a median annual salary of $75,400 as of May 2011.1 A paralegal career affords benefits such as bonuses, vacation, paid sick leave, health and life insurance, and reimbursement for participation in continuing legal education seminars.
Paralegal Career and Job Outlook
The BLS projects that job growth for paralegals will be 18% from 2010-2020.2 Demand for paralegals grows as the legal profession grows. Recent growth in areas like intellectual property law, healthcare law, elder issues, and environmental law contributes to the demand, and thus the increased need for paralegals. The best employment opportunities are for those who are experienced paralegals and those who have formal education and training. Earning a national paralegal certification can also help improve employment prospects and typically requires a paralegal degree from an accredited school. Request free information on how to become a paralegal so you can start you paralegal career.
Featured, Online Paralegal Degrees and Programs
Penn Foster Schools
- CERT: Paralegal Studies
- BAC-Paralegal Studies
- AS - Paralegal Studies
- Associate Degree in Litigation and E-Discovery Paralegal
Concord Law School
- Executive J.D. SM Program
- Juris Doctor Program
California University of Pennsylvania
- Master of Science in Legal Studies: Law and Public Policy
- Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence: Legal Studies
Grand Canyon University
- M.S. in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
Research other law-related careers:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Legal/Paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
Page Edited by Charles Sipe.