Get on the fast track to a career in law with paralegal training
You don't have to spend the rest of your life in school to enter an exciting career in law. In fact, with paralegal training, you could be working in a law office much faster than you might think. But what do paralegals do, and what's the job like?
An integral part of a firm
Sure, when it comes to the big headlines and landmark legal victories, it's usually the attorneys who get the credit, and rightfully so. However, without the support and expertise of skilled paralegals, it'd be much harder for them to do their jobs.
Depending on the firm in question, paralegals do everything they can to support the work of lawyers and attorneys. From filing paperwork to reviewing judicial briefs, paralegals are essential to the smooth operation of a law firm, and ultimately play a large role in the success of a case. Imagine if high-powered attorneys had to do all the research on a complex case for themselves - in some instances, it simply wouldn't be possible.
Paralegals are responsible for checking the factual basis of cases, doing research into the legality of a situation or case history of a client, preparing and writing reports to help attorneys do their job, tracking down affidavits, and conducting a wide range of other administrative tasks. These unsung heroes of the legal profession play a huge role in many larger firms' success.
Competitive salary and a bright future
While it's true that you'll never earn as much as a lawyer working as a paralegal, that doesn't mean the money and prospects aren't competitive. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for paralegal assistants is expected to increase by 18 percent through 2020. While this is only slightly higher than the national average for all occupations, it's significantly better than the 11 percent growth reported for other careers in the legal profession.
Depending on the firm and your level of experience, paralegal pay differs quite widely. According to PayScale, paralegals can earn between $26,949 and $61,641 per year.
Some paralegals choose to pursue their own law degrees after working in the legal profession for a few years. This approach can be tough, but if you discover you've got a taste for the courtroom and the will to succeed, you can use your position as a paralegal to forge professional connections that may serve you well later, if you choose to take the bar exam yourself.