Educational and Skill Requirements
A paralegal is required to have effective communication skills. He should have a thorough knowledge of legal terminology. Most of them specialize in the litigation process and are fully qualified to help out the attorneys. The educational requirement for this job is the knowledge of law and computers. You can take a certificate course to become one. Bachelor or Associate degrees are also available. These degrees take about two years for completion. You can also voluntarily opt for related certifications from National Association of Legal Assistants, National Federation of Paralegal Associations, or American Alliance of Paralegals. The work environment in this job is mainly indoors with occasional visits to law libraries and courts. These professionals work in many industries apart from the legal world, depending on the area of specialization they choose. For example, there are patent, bankruptcy, nurse, immigration, and real estate paralegals.
Duties and Responsibilities
He is responsible for collecting relevant information related to a case such as researching the case laws, etc. He is supposed to crosscheck the facts and their validity. These professionals help the lawyers by doing the preliminary research before a legal document can be prepared. They perform the task of summarizing and checking legal documents. The drafting of documents is handled by them. Simple tasks like locating the witnesses, preparing the pleading, and obtaining affidavits are carried out by these professionals. They also, at times, keep track of files and transcripts and organize meetings. In short, they do the groundwork for the lawyer and assist him in his job. Since different types of paralegals specialize in different industries, their job description also differs. A nurse paralegal often works with attorneys who have cases relating to medicine. These professionals are specialized in medicine. A real estate paralegal has experience in the real estate industry and helps with case building and collecting research for the cases involving real estate. Bankruptcy paralegals are in high demand these days and are involved with cases pertaining to bankruptcy laws. Immigration paralegals assist clients through the process of immigration. Job description of those like patent paralegals varies accordingly. There are a plenty of career opportunities in this field as one gains a lot of experience to become a full-fledged legal attorney.
According to several surveys, the average salary is around USD 54,000 per annum. Paralegals working with law firms get paid the most. Salary for beginners can vary from USD 38,000 to USD 47,000 per annum, depending on whether they work for government or a corporate firm.
Working as such a professional can help a person interested in the field of law in getting the required exposure. Thus, try exploring as much as you can about this profession, and also make sure that you are firm with your decision of pursuing this career.