Are you evaluating your current professional status? In a period of transition? Facing a job setback? Seeking new opportunities?
Paralegals are in high demand! Take the next step in your career and join the ever-growing paralegal market. The types of law and legal specialty areas are diverse, and employment opportunities for paralegals are projected to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026. This is a much faster rate than the average for all other occupations.1
There are several reasons for this increased demand. As law firms seek to streamline their operational costs and spending, trained paralegals offer a less costly alternative to hiring lawyers. Formally trained paralegals with strong communication, database management and computer skills are indispensable to the profession. In spite of paperless processes and exponential growth in electronic storage and retrieval systems, paralegals are still needed to interface with clients, manage caseloads, perform legal research, draft documents, calendar filings and help attorneys prepare for trial. These important support functions within law firms cannot be replaced by technology-enabled processes because they require human interaction, judgment and in-person exchanges.
A robust employment outlook is projected for paralegals, not only because firms want to operate more efficiently, but also because the range of responsibilities that fall under the role of paralegal spans many functions. These may include accounting, billing and even technical support. Firms are rethinking their business needs and building their teams by hiring paralegals. Paralegals will often shoulder a large scope of administrative and clerical responsibilities previously assigned to other members of staff. The lines between paralegal, legal assistant and legal secretary continue to blur. They are often synonymous terms within the industry, referred to in the same context and used interchangeably.
The paralegal position is now expanding into non-legal professions, which also favorably impacts market demand. Paralegal study compliments numerous occupations and provides qualifications for countless career options across an expansive job landscape. Paralegals have a limitless variety of firms, courts, agencies, organizations, private companies and corporations from which to choose. Many paralegals leapfrog into to hybrid roles in people-focused positions that require complex client interactions, attention to detail, research and writing skills. Roles where paralegals can leverage these skills can be found in healthcare, banking, oil and gas, energy, real estate, insurance, compliance, recruiting, human resources, public relations, marketing and technology.
Unlike many other industries, paralegals can enter the field without a degree. A Certificate in Paralegal Studies will add legal classes and specific legal skills to any resume. It can also enhance post-secondary education and will benefit those seeking a career change. However, many paralegal jobs include a college degree requirement to qualify. At minimum, an Associate of Applied Science Degree is highly recommended for anyone pursuing a paralegal career.
Those seeking to diversify their academic and career portfolio should consider the paralegal profession. Several trends point to it as a viable choice:
- Paralegals are in high demand
- Paralegals have strong growth opportunity
- Paralegals benefit from choices in many fields of law and legal specialty areas
- Paralegals can transition skills to other non-legal positions
- Paralegals encounter low barriers to career entry
- Paralegals will enjoy long-term job security and market stability
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm
Director of Outreach and Career Services
Tami has an extensive and varied professional background that spans criminal justice, paralegal education, and international school marketing and communication. Her career has been guided by a focus on developing strategic partnerships that facilitate school growth and student opportunity. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Degree in Criminal Justice from Texas State University.