Most paralegals list "legal advice," "legal documents," and "law firm" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important paralegal responsibilities here: The most important skills for a paralegal to have in this position are communication skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a paralegal resume, you'll understand why: "paralegals must be able to document and present their research and related information to their supervising attorney." According to resumes we found, communication skills can be used by a paralegal in order to "manage expert witness and client communication by scheduling depositions, providing them with necessary documentation and coordinating trial appearances. " While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many paralegal duties rely on computer skills. This example from a paralegal explains why: "paralegals need to be familiar with using computers for legal research and litigation support." This resume example is just one of many ways paralegals are able to utilize computer skills: "act (computerized calendar system), scheduling appointments/conferences, preparing invoices, and billing units. " Paralegals are also known for interpersonal skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a paralegal resume: "paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "update computer system; conduct internet searches; possess strong interpersonal and organizational skills. " A paralegal responsibilities sometimes require "organizational skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "paralegals may be responsible for many cases at one time" This resume example shows how this skill is used by paralegals: "interfaced with governmental agencies, developed forms and organizational methods for ordering plaintiff medical records as part of nursing home docket. " As part of the paralegal description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "research skills." A paralegal resume included this snippet: "paralegals gather facts of the case and research information on relevant laws and regulations to prepare drafts of legal documents for attorneys and help them prepare for a case." This skill could be useful in this scenario: "performed research about real estate closings and ordered/gathered necessary documents for closing. "
See the full list of paralegal skills.
After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a paralegal. We found that 50.7% of paralegals have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 4.8% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most paralegals have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every six paralegals were not college graduates.
Those paralegals who do attend college, typically earn either legal support services degrees or business degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for paralegals include criminal justice degrees or political science degrees.
Once you're ready to become a paralegal, you should explore the companies that typically hire paralegals. According to paralegal resumes that we searched through, paralegals are hired the most by Robert Half International, Facebook, and Wells Fargo. Currently, Robert Half International has 167 paralegal job openings, while there are 41 at Facebook and 13 at Wells Fargo.
If you're interested in companies where paralegals make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Microsoft, Moss Adams, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. We found that at Microsoft, the average paralegal salary is $86,361. Whereas at Moss Adams, paralegals earn roughly $65,610. And at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, they make an average salary of $64,799.
View more details on paralegal salaries across the United States.
In general, paralegals fulfill roles in the professional and manufacturing industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the paralegal annual salary is the highest in the professional industry with $49,264 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the manufacturing and hospitality industries pay $48,349 and $46,879 respectively. This means that paralegals who are employed in the professional industry make 9.0% more than paralegals who work in the retail Industry.