Paralegal or Legal Assistant
Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents. Paralegals and legal assistants also help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Specific duties may vary depending on the size of the firm or organization. Paralegals can assume more responsibilities by specializing in areas such as litigation, personal injury, corporate law, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, family law and real estate. In addition, experienced paralegals may assume supervisory responsibilities, such as overseeing team projects or delegating work to other paralegals.TCC programs that are right for you:Paralegal/Legal Studies Program
Related Career Titles
Judicial law clerk, municipal clerk, title examiner, law library specialist, paralegal supervisor, law office manager, civil rights analyst, claims examiner, contract specialist, employee benefit analyst, internal revenue agent, Freedom of Information Act specialist, land law examiner, legal technician, unemployment insurance specialist, legislative staff analyst, case advocate, patient advocate, administrative hearing representative, food stamp specialist, legislative advocate, veterans' law advocate, social security law specialist, paralegal coordinator, disability law specialist.
Paralegals are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. Paralegals do most of their work in offices and law libraries. Occasionally, they travel to gather information and do other tasks. Paralegals who work for law firms, corporations, and government agencies usually work full-time. Although most paralegals work year round, some are temporarily employed during busy times of the year. Paralegals who work for law firms may work very long hours and overtime to meet deadlines.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18 percent between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As employers try to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of legal services, they are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants. Following the cutbacks experienced during the recent recession, some law firms are rebuilding their support staff by hiring paralegals. Paralegals can be a less costly alternative to lawyers and perform a wider variety of duties, including tasks once done by lawyers. This will cause an increase in demand for paralegals and legal assistants.
Career information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook.