Paralegal

Job Description

Paralegals assist attorneys or businesses with crucial legal work of all kinds. They are vital team members at most law firms and in the legal departments of many companies. 

Though they are not full-fledged lawyers, Paralegals are a valuable (often indispensable) part of most legal teams. They perform necessary work like researching, drafting legal documents and motions, assembling and managing essential files, and assisting in trial preparations. 

Paralegals can work in many types of organizations, but the majority work for law firms, corporate legal departments, or government agencies. 

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Draft legal documents, motions, and pleadings
  • Assist in trial preparations
  • Organize and manage files
  • File documents with courts
  • Help in the discovery phase

Education and Background

This position requires an associate degree in law or a related field; a bachelor’s degree is preferred but not necessary.

Skills and Competencies

  • Knowledge of the law and law firm processes
  • Highly organized
  • Smoothly manage multiple tasks and projects concurrently
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Keen attention to detail

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Paralegal with

1 Year of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $36,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $44,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $42,000
  • Miami, Florida: $53,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $48,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $43,000
  • Houston, Texas: $45,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $59,000
  • New York City, New York: $60,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $50,000
  • Overall: $44,000

5 Years of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $43,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $50,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $45,000
  • Miami, Florida: $63,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $55,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $60,000
  • Houston, Texas: $50,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $70,000
  • New York City, New York: $69,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $60,000
  • Overall: $55,000

Similar Job Titles

Career Path

Becoming a Paralegal is often an early step toward becoming an attorney, and entails first obtaining an associate degree in law or a related field. Employers typically prefer that candidates have a bachelor’s degree. Beyond that, paralegal certification programs are offered in many places and can help progress this career path. 

Position Trends

According to the Center for Advanced Legal Studies, a growing focus is tech savviness in the paralegal world. Unsurprisingly, with the growth of e-discovery, among other aspects, law firms and other legal employers are looking for Paralegals with strong technology skills. 

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Paralegals and Legal Assistants is projected to grow 12 percent through 2028, which is above average for all occupations. 

Typical Hours

The typical work hours for a Paralegal are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary, depending on the needs and hours of an individual firm. 

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Law Jobs
  • Law Crossing

Are You Interested in Becoming a Paralegal?

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