Paralegals Case Study

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Paralegals are important staff members at law firms across the United States. Law work is complex and detailed, and legal experts utilize these professionals to manage the heavy workloads they encounter regularly. Analysts predict that the paralegal career field will grow on par with the national average, with paralegals finding work in many disciplines. Most firms require entry-level paralegals to possess a bachelor’s degree and paralegal certification; however, there are other ways to enter the field.

The Modern Paralegal

Paralegal workers are a critical resource for lawyers and law firms. These specialists are administrative support assistants who work specifically for law professionals. Their work may include storing, organizing and
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Therefore, lawyers also depend on paralegals to verify that the firm is making decisions based on current standards. Paralegals also handle standard office administrative duties such as appointment setting and managing incoming and outgoing office communications such as phone and mail messages. Additionally, firms trust paralegals with composing important documents that the firm will use in legal proceedings. Many paralegals use the position as a stepping stone to working as a lawyer. In this field, paralegals mirror lawyers and can observe and learn how to practice law.

Career Outlook for Paralegals

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that paralegal job openings will grow eight percent between 2014 and 2024. Law and paralegal career tracks are popular career choices in the United States. As such, the BLS predicts that the paralegal field will remain competitive during this period.

Law practice is constantly evolving. Recently, law practitioners and firms have turned their attention to operational efficiencies. This has caused the practitioners to slowly merge two distinct professions; paralegals and law assistants. As firms continue this practice, they will attempt to accomplish more legal work with fewer staff members. The movement towards merging the paralegal and law assistant roles results directly from firms’ desire to reduce client fees. Accordingly, firms also employ paralegals to
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Organizations, such as The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and The Association for Legal Professionals (NALS), serve as focal points that paralegal career seekers can go to for current industry information. These sites cater to prospective and current paralegals who can also find and networking opportunities on the trade organizations’ websites.

Becoming a Paralegal

To begin on the path to a paralegal career, prospective law professionals can begin at a two-year college. While a two-year college provides the foundation for paralegal studies, most firms prefer entry-level paralegals to have a four-year degree. Few schools offer bachelor’s degrees in paralegal studies. Therefore, paralegal hopefuls often have a degree in a different major complemented with a paralegal certification. Most paralegal certificate programs service graduate students. Existing paralegal programs offer training in law research, writing and information technology. These programs may also cover corporate and international

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