Working As A Paralegal

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $45,483

    Average Salary

What Does A Paralegal Do

A Paralegal performs delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. They are hired by lawyers, law offices, corporations, governmental agencies, and other entities.

How To Become A Paralegal

Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies.

Education

There are several paths a person can take to become a paralegal. Candidates can enroll in a community college paralegal program to earn an associate’s degree. However, many employers prefer, or even require, applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Because only a small number of schools offer bachelor’s and master's degrees in paralegal studies, applicants typically have a bachelor’s degree in another subject and earn a certificate in paralegal studies.

Associate’s and bachelor's degree programs in paralegal studies usually offer paralegal training courses in legal research, legal writing, and the legal applications of computers, along with courses in other academic subjects, such as corporate law and international law. Most certificate programs provide intensive paralegal training for people who already hold college degrees.

Employers sometimes hire college graduates with no legal experience or legal education and train them on the job. In these cases, the new employee may have experience in a technical field that is useful to law firms, such tax preparation, nursing, or criminal justice.

Other Experience

In many cases, employers prefer candidates who have at least 1 year of experience in a law firm or other office setting. In addition, a technical understanding of a specific legal specialty can be helpful. For example, a personal-injury law firm may desire a paralegal with a background in nursing or health administration.

Work experience in a law firm or other office setting is particularly important for people who do not have formal paralegal training.

Many paralegal training programs offer an internship, in which students gain practical experience by working for several months in a private law firm, the office of a public defender or attorney general, a corporate legal department, a legal aid organization, or a government agency. Internship experience helps students improve their technical skills and can enhance their employment prospects.

Certifications

Although not required, some employers may prefer to hire applicants who have completed a paralegal certification program. Many national and local paralegal organizations offer voluntary paralegal certifications to students able to pass an exam. Other organizations offer voluntary paralegal certifications for paralegals who meet certain experience and education criteria. For more information about paralegal certifications, see the More Info section.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Paralegals must be able to document and present their research and related information to their supervising attorney.

Computer skills. Paralegals need to be familiar with using computers for legal research and litigation support. They also use computer programs for organizing and maintaining important documents.

Interpersonal skills. Paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships. They must make clients feel comfortable sharing personal information related to their cases.

Organizational skills. Paralegals may be responsible for many cases at one time. They must adapt quickly to changing deadlines.

Research skills. Paralegals need good research and investigative skills to conduct legal research.

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45 Paralegal jobs

Allstate
Falls Church, VA
Paralegal- Falls Church

$45,483 Estimated

Livesay & Myers, P.C.
Fairfax, VA
Family Law Paralegal

$45,483 Estimated

Caci International Inc.
Washington, DC
Paralegal

$45,914 Estimated

Bloomforth Corp
Bethesda, MD
Paralegal

$45,000 Estimated

Allstate Insurance Company
Falls Church, VA
Paralegal- Falls Church

$45,483 Estimated

Special Counsel
Washington, DC
Junior Paralegal

$45,914 Estimated

Special Counsel
Washington, DC
IP Patent Prosecution

$45,914 Estimated

Evolver, Inc.
Washington, DC
eDiscovery Mid Paralegal - Active Top Secret Clearance Required

$45,914 Estimated

Pae, Inc.
Washington, DC
Paralegal

$45,914 Estimated

Bechtel Corporation
Reston, VA
Paralegal

$45,483 Estimated

Legal E
Washington, DC
eDiscovery Paralegal - Washington

$45,914 Estimated

Robert Half
Bethesda, MD
Paralegal

$45,000 Estimated

Emerson Electric
Washington, DC
Paralegal (Legal)

$45,914 Estimated

Nana Regional Corporation
Washington, DC
General Paralegal (Must

$45,914 Estimated

Allstate Insurance Company.
Falls Church, VA
Paralegal- Falls Church

$45,483 Estimated

Caci International
Washington, DC
Paralegal

$45,914 Estimated

Hunton Williams LLP
Washington, DC
Paralegal II

$45,914 Estimated

Robert Half
Washington, DC
Paralegal

$45,914 Estimated

Robert Half
Silver Spring, MD
Paralegal

$37,145 Estimated

Capital Automotive
McLean, VA
Paralegal Business

$45,483 Estimated

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Real Paralegal Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Paralegal III Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Jan 02, 2016 $122,000
Paralegal Jarvis, Krieger and Sullivan LLP Long Beach, CA Apr 01, 2015 $90,000 -
$100,000
Paralegal Baker and McKenzie LLP Chicago, IL Jan 08, 2016 $80,000
Paralegal Baker and McKenzie LLP Chicago, IL Feb 22, 2016 $80,000
Paralegal BP Management LP New York, NY Oct 31, 2015 $80,000
Supervisory Paralegal Law Offices of Rakesh Mehrotra Reston, VA Jul 29, 2015 $75,774
Paralegal Benchmark Electronics, Inc. Angleton, TX Aug 13, 2015 $73,000 -
$78,000
Business/Transnational Paralegal Marili Cancio Johnson P.A. Miami, FL Dec 27, 2016 $68,702
Paralegal Just Energy (U.S) Corp Houston, TX May 13, 2015 $66,790
Paralegal Reid & Wise LLC New York, NY Sep 20, 2016 $65,219
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Top Skills for A Paralegal

DiscoveryResponsesTrialPreparationLegalDocumentsLegalResearchCounselRealEstateClosingsPersonalInjuryCasesMedicalRecordsComplaintsBankruptcyAffidavitsForeclosureFamilyLawLawFirmClientFilesCivilLitigationLexisNexisMedicalMalpracticeDocumentProductionCourtDocuments

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Top Paralegal Skills

  1. Discovery Responses
  2. Trial Preparation
  3. Legal Documents
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Work with clients and witnesses to draft discovery responses and assist with deposition preparation.
  • Generate correspondence, status reports and legal documents Client contact Process authorizations Review and summarize medical records Billing Trial preparation
  • Drafted legal documents including briefs, pleadings, appeals, agreements, contracts, discoveries and memos.
  • Prepared documents, organized files, conducted legal research and facilitated interviews of potential clients.
  • Assisted in managing regional counsel with the coordination of SEC and internal audits.

Top Paralegal Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Paralegal

  1. Lexington Law Firm
  2. Robert Half International
  3. McCabe, Weisberg, & Conway, P.C
  4. Law Office
  5. Hunt Leibert PC
  6. United States Air Force
  7. United States Army
  8. RCO and ISP Group
  9. Law Office of Zimmerman & Shealy, LLC
  10. Aldridge Connors
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Paralegal Videos

Paralegal: Job Profile

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