Paralegal Salary – How Much Do Paralegals Make

If you are not that familiar with what a paralegal is, then one of the best ways to describe these professionals is through citing the nature of their work. Paralegals are individuals who assist lawyers. They have been trained or possess the necessary education needed for the job. Even though they are not lawyers, they have the knowledge needed to work with legal concerns and understand law & procedures. Hence, they are usually found working in law firms, although there are a number which work with other organizations. Knowing about the job outlook and typical paralegal salary might make you start thinking of considering this as a career. That is, if you consider dealing with legal matters as your interest.

Busy ParalegalsA paralegal isn’t necessarily an aspiring lawyer. However, their job allows them to have a close look on how lawyers work. Thus, it can also be a way for you to know if pursuing a career as a lawyer would suit you. In the field of healthcare for example, they are comparable to how nurses serve as assistants to doctors. Their duties are mostly concerned with doing responsibilities to support lawyers such as conducting legal research and interviews, creating reports and drafting documents among other tasks. The type of work that paralegals perform depends on what their firm demands. For instance, the type of work that has to be done on smaller firms is usually different compared to their much larger counterparts. Normally, paralegal jobs are full-time and there are times when overtimes would be necessary due to approaching deadlines. Paralegals are important in the legal profession as they hold a role which is significant for lawyers to efficiently carry out their work.

Smiling paralegalsAccording to the records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, a paralegal salary was about $46,680 (median annual wage) in 2010. That is equivalent to an hourly rate of $22.44. These figures are typical for paralegals in general. Entry-level paralegals can expect to have lower rates, ranging from $27,000 to $41,000, dependent on the law firm that they’ll be working in. You can expect the rates to climb as you also reach a new milestone in the career. The paralegal job outlook is seen as positive from the years 2010 to 2020. There is an expected growth of 18 percent for this job within that ten year range. [1] Salaries vary depending on a variety of factors including location, experience, educational attainment and the firm an employee belongs to. As mentioned earlier, gaining more exposure to the field will guarantee you to obtain higher salaries. In addition, a large law firm also offer better rates as there are more lawyers present. Let’s take this example, a paralegal who is already considered a senior (say, for instance, this individual has worked for over five years in the profession) and employed in a large firm makes about $62,000 to $84,000 annually. [2] This pay range consists of figures which are notably higher compared to the rates mentioned earlier. In terms of location, paralegals based in big cities such as New York can expect to have a higher basic pay compared to more areas which aren’t as crowded. The standards of living in these populous areas are also a factor on why they have much higher paralegal salaries. This link will lead you to a page in the Bureau of Labor Statistics website which displays data presented in tabular form concerning the paralegal profession. It includes the areas in the United States which offer the highest salaries for paralegals; it also indicates the places that have the highest concentration of jobs for the said profession.

CareerCast.com, an online job portal which regularly posts job rankings, has placed being a paralegal as the top one on their list for the most underrated jobs of 2011. The list includes other careers which are not usually sought after by job seekers, but they actually have a lot of advantages compared to the more popular choices. Such advantages include the lesser amount of stress and higher pay. Having the paralegal profession rank number one in their list certainly demonstrates that pursuing this career path can be rather a fulfilling one. If you think you have what it takes to pursue this career, then it would be best to consider it as a choice. Who knows, you might find that being a paralegal really is an interesting job after all and that it can end up as a rewarding job for you.

Law Clerk Salary: What You Should Know

Jobs in the legal arena are among the most attractive careers that interest many people, especially those who are particularly intrigued about a law clerk salary and other professionals in this field.

But before you even decide in taking this career path, there are things that you need to know about a law clerk’s nature of job, responsibilities, demands of the workplace, required education, as well as qualifications.

Nature of the work

clerk2In most part, legal clerks work in law firms and in any other entity that requires dispensation or at times, interpretation of the law. These professionals work primarily as a support staffs for attorneys and courts.

Part of their work involves legal research, legal documentation, administrative support, and other clerical responsibilities their superiors may ask them to do. In terms of workload, some legal aides may have a long day at work or some may have a relax work environment. The workload is actually largely dependent on several factors.

Compensation

When it comes to compensation aspect, with the national average law clerk salary, this career is considered a highly competitive career to be in. However, there are also other factors that affect the salary of a legal or law clerk.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that the average salary of a legal clerk is pegged at $54,000. Depending on a candidate’s experience, skills, and any other qualifications, this salary will vary from state to state.

Skills

In order to increase your likelihood of being hired, you need to know for yourself if you possess all the skills required or expected from a candidate. Generally, candidates with experience in the same field are more likely to get hired. Also, background in legal technicalities and intricacies of the legal system is a significant edge that will increase a candidate’s chance of getting hired.

What Does a Paralegal Do – A Look Into the Life of a Paralegal

On a separate article, it has been discussed how a paralegal is someone who serves as an assistant to lawyers. They have been trained accordingly and are familiar with many legal works and procedures. From a general standpoint, reading about this brief description about what a paralegal does can come as vague. It might not be too helpful for individuals who intend to start a career as a paralegal. A lot of people, especially those who find interest in law and legal work, are most likely curious about what a paralegal actually does. That is, they might be curious about the tasks and responsibilities that paralegals are asked to do on a regular basis. If you are one of these curious ones, then read on for you to learn more about what does a paralegal do.

Paralegals have a wide array of tasks to work on. From interviewing clients to preparing various files and records, it is no doubt that their jobs can be quite arduous at times. Due to the range of duties that they have, the tasks that they have are usually different today compared to yesterday. These professionals typically work in law firms, private organizations and the public sector among others. However, there are times when they are self-employed and work as independent paralegals. For such cases, they are to work with clients on lower court proceedings. Moreover, the duties of a neophyte paralegal are typically different when compared with the more experienced ones. The tasks of a junior paralegal are usually all about legal document preparations, research, and other office tasks. For a more experienced paralegal, tasks typically include client and witness interviews, going to court with the attorney, and other duties concerning communication with clients. Since paralegals are the ones who work on the minor details of a case, they usually are more acquainted with slight changes compared to lawyers. Thus, it is apparent how they play an important role in the entire legal process. Without them, lawyers will be having a hard time following up with cases as paralegals are usually the ones who are tasked to do research and gather information regarding a certain case. Aside from that, they also analyse the information that they have gathered and make reports for the attorneys to use. Also, they can be tasked to prepare presentations for clients. During initial client interviews, paralegals pay close attention and take down notes so that they may be able to conduct future interviews with the clients and witnesses. After every interview, a report or memo is prepared for the attorney. Furthermore, administrative tasks are another part of a paralegal’s responsibilities. This includes making and answering telephone calls, organizing documents, and following up the attorney’s schedule among others. This line of work is typically full-time, although working part-time is possible. Paralegals usually work during regular hours, from Mondays to Fridays. However, working overtime is to be expected as there will be times when more work is needed to be finished.

Now that you know about what does a paralegal do, you might find that choosing the career path of a paralegal can be fulfilling – as long as you have a passion for law and legal work. If you think that you have what it takes to be a paralegal, then it is advised that you undergo training to acquire a paralegal certificate. Once you are ready to practice the profession, you can expect to receive quite a satisfactory rate at the beginning of your career. More opportunities will definitely be present once you have years of practice up your sleeve. Aside from being well-acquainted with the legal system, paralegals have a lot of opportunities to improve in various areas of this line of work.

Paralegal Certificate – Starting Your Career as a Paralegal

If taking the path of a paralegal is your intention for your career, then obtaining a paralegal certificate is important for your pursuit. This certificate will be the proof that you possess the skill and knowledge needed for the occupation. A paralegal certificate can be acquired through education and training administered by institutions offering specialized programs for the aspirant. Four year paralegal degrees are offered in several institutions, however many opt to begin with taking paralegal certificate programs or associates degrees. It apparently is a more practical choice since it takes a shorter amount of time to finish. Different paralegal certificate programs have varied approaches depending on the school involved. There are programs that take as little as four months to finish. Certificate programs usually last from a few months to one year. If you choose to finish an associate degree in paralegal studies, then it will typically take you two years to finish. Moreover, searching online will present you with a lot of schools to choose from for your paralegal studies. There are also a notable amount of institutions that provide online paralegal training (e.g. Boston University and The University of Texas at Austin). In selecting the school which can help you with your education, it would be best to choose a school from the list found on the website of the American Bar Association (ABA). There are hundreds of institutions to choose from and locating one in your area wouldn’t be much of a task through their website.

Furthermore, let us discuss two terms related to being a paralegal that seem to be used interchangeably when in fact they should be. These terms are certificated and certified, they may almost sound alike but they are two different things. To be certificated means that an individual has undergone the training necessary to become a paralegal. Thus, these people have been given a certificate or diploma to recognize the formal paralegal education that they have acquired. On the other hand, to be certified means that a person is qualified or has credit to be a practicing paralegal. To be certified, there are exams that one must pass; such exams are provided by established organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

In obtaining a paralegal certificate, it is important for candidates to consider the institution that will be their training grounds for the field. Learning more about how these institutions direct their paralegal programs would be great. The experiences that the individuals will get from their paralegal education can be a huge factor later when they will begin to seek for employment. In addition, considering the type of program, may it be an associate’s degree or certificate program, will also help especially if the candidate intends to be a more competitive prospect in the field.

How to Become a Paralegal – Preparing Yourself for the Legal World

Ever thought of taking the paralegal career path? Or are you just plain interested in learning more about the occupation? Whatever the reason is for your curiosity, you most likely want to look further into this occupation by knowing the requisites on how to become a paralegal.studentIn terms of education, the path for being a paralegal isn’t as tedious as other common professions. A four year degree isn’t a requirement if you want to venture into this field (however, there are also several colleges and universities that do offer four year paralegal programs). Various institutions offer associate degrees and training programs for those who want to be a paralegal. The training for being a paralegal usually takes several months to about two years to complete depending on the kind of program that you choose. In addition, there are even schools that offer online training. Hence, that makes becoming a paralegal available right at your fingertips (with the right resources of course). Here are several institutions that provide online paralegal certificate programs:

Moreover, there is actually no body or authority that regulates the paralegal profession. For instance, in the United States, licensing for this occupation isn’t a requirement as of yet, although a number of states consider such a scenario. Hence, an individual who wants to be considered as worthy of taking part in this profession should become certified first. In this manner, prospective employers will be sure that you have the education and knowledge that is necessary for paralegals. There are a number of organizations that administer exams for paralegals who want to be certified, some of which are the National Association of legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). You may learn more about the available exams through the following link.

The American Bar Association (ABA), which is a committee dedicated to the paralegal profession, has a list of recognized paralegal education programs. Checking the list of ABA approved paralegal programs may help you choose the ideal institution for your training to be a part of this profession.

Now that you have an idea on how to become a paralegal, you might want to consider the prospects that you can attain while in the field. This profession might not seem to be in the same league as the more popular careers. However, if you couple it with a strong will and interest in legal work, being a paralegal can be a truly fulfilling job.

What is a Paralegal – Understanding the Profession

Now, let’s take time into learning more about what being a paralegal is. What is a paralegal then? The job isn’t that of a popular choice to many. It might even be an occupation that you do not hear about too often.law books Hence, providing a general overview will let us take a look into what these people are all about. Paralegals are individuals who provide support to lawyers. The services of a paralegal are important for lawyers to be able to perform their duties efficiently. However, paralegals cannot be the ones to practice law. They are around to help lawyers with paperwork, research and other tasks that are needed in legal work. In the legal environment, they can be seen as assistants to lawyers in trials, deal with witnesses for investigation or even organize medical records (i.e. nurse paralegals). Their job description surely can contain a quite a number of tasks and responsibilities. Moreover, paralegals aren’t just found in law firms, they can be found in a variety of working environments such as in the legal departments of other sectors and agencies. The amount of work that a paralegal does depends on the size of the firms that they work in. For instance, if you belong to a larger corporation, then there is a possibility that your work will be focused only on a certain specialization. However, this is only an example as there are a lot of possible scenarios considering the varied handling techniques for different industries.

It is interesting to note that even though paralegals may have a diverse set of responsibilities, obtaining a bachelor’s degree isn’t necessary for a person to become one. In order to pursue the career path of being a paralegal, one can enroll themselves in an associate’s degree for paralegal studies which usually lasts for two years. There are also paralegal certificate programs which can be completed in several months to a few years. There are even programs offered online for the aspiring paralegals. Thus, if you think that law is your field of choice and find that being a lawyer can seem to be impractical (it takes time and a lot of dedication especially in terms of studies), then being a paralegal would be a great choice for you.

Considering asking a question such as “what is a paralegal?” certainly makes us realize that law is one extensive field to deal with. Behind lawyers are paralegals that are indeed indispensable for any legal team. Lawyers and paralegals must have good working relationships so they may develop a positive professional atmosphere.

If you want to learn more about what you can find in a paralegal job description, then do check this article.

Paralegal Job Description –Duties and Responsibilities of a Paralegal

Paralegals are known to provide support to lawyers; hence they are commonly referred to as their assistants. They do a lot of the back end job helping lawyers; however, they aren’t allowed to provide any legal advice to clients. Given that, you can infer that they should have a solid knowledge of concepts pertaining to legal affairs. Taking part in such an extensive field just like law can involve a lot of work. Thus, let us appreciate what these individuals typically work with by looking into a paralegal job description.

What does a paralegal do then?  They have a varied set of responsibilities. Generally, they are especially trained to deal with tasks that are concerned with legal work. Some of their duties include organizing information, conducting research about the legislative bearings of a case, writing reports to lawyers and gathering relevant updates for a case and provide assistance in preparation for trials. The job assigned to a paralegal can be a specific set of tasks. It also is usually dependent on the size of the firm that they are in or the area of work that they have been tasked to focus on. For instance, in the undertakings of a case, the paralegal isn’t always necessarily the one who should do work in all aspects of it. They can do work only for a particular phase of the case, this will depend on their specialization. There are actually different types of paralegals based on the subject matter involved. One such type is the bankruptcy paralegal. From the term itself, they specialize in understanding and working on the bankruptcy process alongside, well, bankruptcy lawyers. Their role comes in handy when there are clients who need to file for bankruptcy. Moreover, another type of paralegal is the immigration law paralegal (which can also be simply referred to as immigration paralegal). There area of concern would primarily involve cases about immigration issues. Some jobs in this particular branch require that the individual be fluent in a certain foreign language. Some firms also specify that the candidate must possess a college degree or have had relevant experience in the field. Aside from the responsibilities mentioned, these paralegals still deal with regular paralegal duties but focus mainly on their specializations.

Listing the specifications of a paralegal job description makes you realize how these non-lawyers still have to work and think similar to how lawyers do. That is, considering the type of services and amount of work involved in their jobs. Indeed, it is interesting to know how the work of these individuals contributes a lot to the legal process.