What Exactly is a Paralegal?
For anyone interested in starting a career in the legal field, one exciting and rewarding position is that of the paralegal. These individuals are often considered the right-hand assistants to attorneys. They are responsible for performing much of the research and case prep work, and are even required to speak with clients in depositions. Given that they are not licensed to practice law, paralegals can not give legal advice to clients or act as counsel. They also can not determine or set a firm’s fees, as these are all duties reserved for lawyers. As is to be expected, an individual does not have to have their law degree nor do they need to pass the bar to work as a paralegal, which is a major benefit of the field at large. It is also why this position is highly attractive in the job market.
For educational requirements, a bachelors degree in any related field (many paralegals have English and pre-law majors) or successful completion of a paralegal certification program like the one offered here at Cestar will suffice. The cost-savings of not needing to attend law school is a definite plus, especially for people who are not quite sure where their career interests lie. The paralegal field is expanding and the salaries for these jobs are far from low-end. The highest-paid positions tend to be those in corporate law firms, although there are many small offices that are willing to pay good wages for talent.
The benefits of being a paralegal
- Great pay; with an average salary of approximately $50,000 and rising, you simply can not go wrong with this career path. When you take into account how relatively easy it is to become qualified (you don’t have to spend 7 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on post-secondary education), it is a definitely a solid choice. Some lawyers don’t even make this kind of money, which is also something to keep in mind.
- You will learn a lot and gain invaluable experience; since paralegals work side by side with attorneys, they quickly become experts in a wide range of legal issues. They also develop excellent writing and research abilities, which are evergreen skills to have in this day in age.
- Opportunity for advancement; it is not uncommon for most paralegals to become attorneys during the course of their employment. Since they get hands-on training on a daily basis, they actually have an advantage over fellow law students.
Working as a paralegal is a great way to test the waters of the legal field and find out if it suits your interests. At Cestar, we offer a comprehensive 1,100 hour course to all students interested in becoming paralegals. You will be trained in key areas such as legal research and writing and various sub-sections law.