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What Does a Paralegal Do?

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Author: Melissa Steele

Paralegals are assistants specially trained to handle the day-to-day needs of the lawyers they work for. Whether you are the sole assistant to a top lawyer or part of a team of paralegals in a legal department, your job will include the following tasks:

Draft and file documents, Interview clients, Research cases and precedents, Non-legal research

As a paralegals, you will be able to find work anywhere including private law forms, the district attorney's office, government agencies, major corporations, banks, hospitals, or insurance companies.

What training do I need to become a paralegal?

Community colleges, online institutions, and vocational schools all offer certificates, associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees. No matter which program you choose, you will be trained specifically for the position of paralegal.

Your training as a paralegal will give you the tools to make a lawyers job go more smoothly without the ultimate responsibility of the cases. The list of tasks delegated to paralegals grows daily but their scope of practice is very specifically defined especially regarding presenting cases in court, offering legal advice, and setting legal fees.

What will I earn as a paralegal?

Education and experience greatly impact your earning potential as a paralegal. Where you live and who employs you also affects your rate of income.

Large firms and companies in large cities generally pay more than their smaller, more rural counterparts. Many paralegals, however, are often given bonuses in addition to a salary that could land anywhere between $28,000 and $50,000+. Legal secretaries make a bit more with salaries that range from $32,000 to $53,000+. Senior paralegals command salaries of $35,000 to $60,000+.

Do I need to be licensed or certified to be a paralegal?

No. There are some national exams for paralegals but none are required. It is recommended that you enroll in an American Bar Association approved program.

What is the future of the field?

The position of paralegal is expected to grow faster than most professions in the next decade, by more than 30 percent.

About the author: Melissa Steele is a featured writer for She has been writing about technical vocational schools since 2004. To learn about legal degrees and law schools online, please visit us today.

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