Believe it or not, but a bulk of the workload performed in law offices is handled by legal assistants and paralegals; the latter are responsible for carrying out a sizable amount of administrative and support-related duties. To be completely clear, most attorneys would have a very difficult time managing client demand without the help of these indispensable employees.
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That being said, the career opportunities for prospective paralegals continue to grow and expand at an incredible rate. In light of fast-track education and certification courses tailored towards paralegal and legal assistant jobs, more and more people are seeking these lucrative positions.
Perhaps the best part about this industry is the fact that it is highly diversified. No longer are individuals limited to working in small law firms; from corporate to government careers, the possibilities are endless (and growing)!
- Working in a private law firm – Not surprisingly, this is where a majority of paralegals and legal assistants continue to be employed. With the ability to bill their hours the same way lawyers do, room for healthy economic growth and options in the way of career specialization, being employed in a private practice is never a bad idea.
- County courthouses – Although restricted in their ability to practice law and give any legal advice to clients, these paralegals usually help public defenders prepare for trial. This includes performing extensive research and any other necessary legal tasks.
- Consultants – Paralegals employed by consulting firms are entrusted to provide pertinent support services to clientele, which are usually other law firms and large corporations (instead of individuals). Their duties are similar to that of other paralegals in that they conduct investigations, fact-finding research, and document transcriptions. One may be required to take specialty paralegal and legal assistant courses in order to qualify for a consulting position, given the greater technological resources they use for communicating with clients.
It is without question that paralegals are an instrumental part of the legal field, which is great news for those seeking employment in this industry. Additional career opportunities include working for health care companies, recording studios, law libraries, and the federal government.
A good idea would be to focus on a specific niche, then custom tailor one’s education and skill set to the position at hand. Overall, the current career outlook for paralegals and legal assistants is better than most fields.