Paralegals work side by side with attorneys and assist them with important tasks such as preparing for a hearing, setting legal fees, and presenting in court. In addition to the preparation work, paralegals also help draft contracts, and separation agreements. Paralegals may work in an attorney’s private office, but most are employed by the legal department of big corporations. The job duties for paralegals are contingent upon their employer. For those who work in a corporation, they will be responsible for helping attorneys with employee contracts and shareholder agreements. Litigation paralegals, on the other hand, need to have a good command of computer skills as they will be required to work constantly with databases.
To become a recognized paralegal, an individual needs to possess at least an associate’s degree
in paralegal studies. This entails two years of community college. For those who already have a bachelor’s degree, they may study for a certificate in paralegal studies and apply for entry-level jobs. Certificate program usually take a few months to a year to complete. Currently, there are over one thousand community colleges, four-year universities, online schools
, and law schools that offer paralegal training
programs. The American Bar Association has approved 260 paralegal programs. Individuals who want to pursue a career
as paralegals should make sure that they are enrolled in one of those Paralegal schools
Students can choose to pursue their paralegal studies on campus or through an online paralegal program. Students in a paralegal studies program should expect to take classes in torts and personal injury, contracts, legal research, professional responsibilities, criminal law, real property, domestic relations, immigration law, etc. They will also need to learn about basic accounting, economic, finance, and business. These paralegal training programs will prepare students to apply state and federal statues, draft basic law documents, and utilize transferable skills in the business sector.
The tuition and fees for degree programs in paralegal studies vary greatly depending on the paralegal colleges An associate’s degree program at the National Paralegal College will cost around $8,427, while an online certificate program from Blackstone Career
Institute costs $4,500 and lasts for approximately eight months. Check with local community colleges as they usually provide paralegal studies programs at a lower tuition fee. Before paying the tuition, make sure that the college is among the accredited paralegal schools
Graduates from accredited paralegal schools face a very promising career
prospect as according the the U.S. Bureau of Labor, demand for paralegals are likely to increase in the coming years, although the field will remain competitive. Experienced paralegals will earn more and will be eligible for higher positions in corporations or in the attorney’s office. Also, paralegals receive a full benefit package