When you hear the words "legal profession," the first thing that usually comes to mind is a lawyer. Attorneys are often thought of in trials: questioning witnesses, evaluating evidence, working with clients. But, becoming an attorney isn't the only route to creating a legal career. Paralegals who work alongside and support attorneys often find themselves in the most satisfactory legal career of all.
What is a paralegal? If an attorney is the heart of the firm, a paralegal is the blood that keeps the heart pumping. They work together for optimal performance.
Paralegals do nearly everything an attorney does. Although they don't actually give legal advice, set fees, or represent clients during trials, they play a big role in legal proceedings and the outcome of a case. Paralegals do things such as schedule interviews with clients and witnesses, gather information, and prepare and manage documents and files relevant to a case. They free up the attorney's time and keep him/her organized and prepared. In fact, a good paralegal can be the key to an attorney's success.
Rising Paralegal Salaries
The median pay for paralegals has increased in recent years, with rising client demands, rapid growth rate, and new legal trends. Center for Advanced Legal Studies' 2011-2012 report salary ranges for graduates between $20,800.00 and $70,000.00. Despite the country's economic bumps and recession, statistics show chances of the profession's annual pay exceeding expectations.
Growing Career Opportunities
Being a paralegal provides the opportunity to advance and grow in a career. Career changers often combine their previous education and experience with paralegal education to bring a new dynamic to their resume and open doors. Becoming a formally trained paralegal offers leverage in securing the best job prospects in a variety of areas —government agencies, real estate companies, and small to large law firms or corporations. The paralegal profession is growing, and according to CNN Money Magazine, the profession ranked in the top 50 jobs in the U.S.
Paralegals don't simply work as assistants to lawyers; they are the backbone of the practice. Becoming a paralegal can be as prestigious as becoming a lawyer. Don't take lightly the weight of the profession's responsibilities and the intellectual challenges that come with it.
Knowing and understanding the details of a case, communicating clearly, and providing excellent services to clients brings recognition and commendation in a field where such things are demanded and expected.
The Chance to Help Others
Nothing compares to the feeling of being a great help to others. Whether preparing documents, arranging meetings, or gathering important information, there's the underlying satisfaction that you've played a part in easing the burden of lawyers and helping clients.
Becoming a paralegal means you make a difference in the lives of many. This is the basis of true job satisfaction. The expectations of those you work for and with are high, but the extra level of stress felt by attorneys will not belong to you. The quality and importance of the work makes this 'other' legal profession perhaps the right one for you.
The paralegal field is growing profession in high demand. If you are interested in the law, desire to help others, and want to begin or advance your career, find out more by calling us at 800-446-6931 or visiting Center for Advanced Legal Studies at http://www.paralegal.edu.
Gail Armatys, Co-Founder & CAO
Center for Advanced Legal Studies