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The Path to Becoming a Paralegal

Posted by Gail Armatys

Mar 8, 2013 11:47:00 AM

Is the Paralegal Profession for You?

If you enjoy the law, a paralegal career may be the professional pathway for you. Having a passion for helping people and being organized and curious can be important factors to consider as well. Professionalism, good communication skills, a willingness to learn and work hard are all beneficial traits to creating a legal career that provides the income and satisfaction you are looking for as a paralegal. Here, we will tell you what to expect when you become a paralegal and where your career path might lead.

A Rewarding Paralegal Career

Being a paralegal is a rewarding career. You will be responsible for many different tasks that will help clients and assist your attorney in winning his/her cases. Some tasks you need to fulfill may include the compilation of legal documents and papers, research (due diligence, supreme court rulings, annotations, etc.) and assisting lawyers in the preparation and completion of cases, among others. You can work for lawyers who specialize in nearly any field, such as family law, criminal law or corporate law.

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Paralegal Training, Skills, and Job Duties

Paralegals are important and efficient members of a legal team. Many law firms choose to hire paralegals and rely on them to assist with legal cases and bring in additional income to the firm. If you choose to become a paralegal, understanding your employer and the type of law practiced, being a good communicator, having an impressive set of skills and knowledge, and lastly, focusing on the clients needs will help you work your way to the top of the profession.

Once you have completed your studies and training, you can start performing substantive legal work. As a paralegal, you will become an integral part of the legal team, sharing many of the duties with the lawyers you work with. You can now start making yourself valuable to the team by unearthing facts, obtaining affidavits, gathering documents, helping with depositions, and more.  Your job is to make the attorney's life easier and at the same time make him/her look good.  In truth, a good paralegal is irreplaceable and of great value - a good attorney will recognize and appreciate this.

Maybe you think all you will do as a paralegal is retrieve legal records and collect client data. You will do so much more. As part of the team, you will get to help draft legal documents and conduct legal research. You can help your employer during court cases by locating and prepping witnesses, meeting with clients, and communicating with people related to the case.

Your duties will depend on your employer's specializations, but you should get to experience a variety of areas of law during your training. Some of these areas include real estate, family law, litigation, intellectual property, immigration, and more. Once you are familiar with the different fields, you can identify and work for a specific area of expertise, whatever it may be.  Having training in a variety of areas of the law can open more doors for your employment.

Where Do Paralegals Work?

One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing where to work. Many public and private firms need paralegals and most recently are often opting to hire paralegals over new attorneys.  Corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, hospitals, and so many more employment opportunities are available for paralegals. Based on your paralegal training and the paralegal program you attend, you will be prepared to accept a position with an employer that suits your interests and helps advance your career.

If you think you might enjoy a career as a paralegal, contact Center for Advanced Legal Studies. We can help you develop your interest in the law and make your dream of a legal career come true. Call us today at (713) 529-2778 or 1 800 446 6931 to inquire about our paralegal programs.

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 Gail Armatys, Co-founder & CAO   Gail Armatys, Co-Founder & CAO, Center for Advanced Legal Studies  

                                                                                                                               

Topics: career, paralegal skills, education and training

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