When a student gets a degree in paralegal studies he or she gets sufficient training to tender their candidature in the legal job market. According to the view of U.S. Department of Labor, formally trained paralegals from ABA approved programs have better job prospects than those paralegals that are without any formal training.
These days, paralegals usually do the work that traditionally used to be done by lawyers. This work includes analysis of cases and legal research. As a result of this, formal training is of vital importance. If one wants to continue education pertaining to paralegal studies, some law firms may be of help. If you happen to already be employed, the possibility of being paid for continuing education should be tried and investigated.
Paralegal Degree Types
There are two kinds of paralegal degrees. One is the bachelor’s degree and the other is the associate’s degree. These are in combination with a specialization certificate. A master’s degree is also offered by some of the law schools. Courses in ethics, legal research, legal procedure, communication and survey can be included in the paralegal training. Different law branches such as contracts, business law, property law, real estate, criminal justice, family law, patents, tax law, and law pertaining to copyright.
The utility of databases, software programs, and other research tools may also be taught to the students of paralegal degree programs. Some of these research tools are Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw. Practical internship is offered in some degree programs. This gives a very good preview of the daily activities of any paralegal. One can get a chance to be an intern with a community organization, a law firm or even a corporate legal department. Legal aid services are provided to students by some of the universities. The interns sometimes get the chance of working in this service department.
There are some paralegal training programs that are not accredited by the American Bar Association. Some think that attending an ABA accredited school is not necessary but there are some employers who make the paralegal training program from an ABA accredited school a requirement. A potential paralegal can improve his or her career prospects by attending an ABA accredited school. The eligibility criteria for getting admission to ABA accredited schools differ and this may be either a high school degree or a bachelor’s degree.
Paralegals may be employed by any type of law firms, insurance companies, banks, government or corporate legal divisions. Some of the paralegals opt to be freelancers. The freelancers offer their services depending upon the situation. As time goes by along with experience the paralegal may do specialization in any specific aspect of law. Specialization can include legal advocacy, business law or criminal justice.
Paralegals do not plead in the court for their clients. With reference to giving legal advice they are not considered qualified enough. Other areas of preparing the case such as collection of documents, research, analysis and organization of files are handled by paralegals. In this type of work analytical skills, organizational abilities and an eye for details is very necessary.
Earnings For Paralegals
The earnings of paralegals differ. The average income of paralegals was $43,000 in 2008. The earnings of the top 10% crossed $67,500. The best remuneration was being offered to those employed by the federal government. Competitive salaries are offered to paralegals at large law corporations or law firms. The earnings of paralegals employed at community organizations or advocacies may be less but with greater job satisfaction.
A formal training eases the entrance to the paralegal profession. Stable job opportunities are offered because the companies and law firms have started getting the work done from paralegals. By doing this the cost can be reduced because the lawyers are expensive than paralegals.