1. University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA • Private
A paralegal specialist is a law professional who assists lawyers with a variety of legal tasks. They help in researching cases, preparing draft documents for trials or hearings, drafting legal opinions, and interviewing witnesses in preparation for an appearance in court. A paralegal specialist may opt to focus on a particular area of law such as family, real estate, corporate law, bankruptcy, etc., or to practice in all areas.
Paralegal specialists work closely with other lawyers, court personnel, and staff in other departments. They can work in legal clinics, law firms, corporate organizations, government institutions, and non-profit organizations.
To succeed in their role, they should have extensive knowledge of the law, research skills, confidence, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and attention to detail. Paralegal specialists usually work full-time, 40 hours per week, from Monday to Saturday between 9 and 5. They may work additional hours in the evenings and during the weekends when they travel to meet clients.
There are certain skills that many paralegal specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, computer skills and interpersonal skills.
If you're interested in becoming a paralegal specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 52.2% of paralegal specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.7% of paralegal specialists have master's degrees. Even though most paralegal specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.
In addition to switching up your job search, it might prove helpful to look at a career path for your specific job. Now, what's a career path you ask? Well, it's practically a map that shows how you might advance from one job title to another. Our career paths are especially detailed with salary changes. So, for example, if you started out with the role of paralegal you might progress to a role such as legal secretary eventually. Later on in your career, you could end up with the title administrative manager.
What Am I Worth?
There are several types of paralegal specialist, including:
A paralegal is in charge of substantive legal work. Typically, they serve lawyers who are so busy building a case that they need help sorting out all of the legal work. That's where you come in.
Paralegals take pride in their responsibilities by administering their knowledge of the law and legal procedures. It can be a great thing to have a paralegal on the case because the law will determine what direction a lawyer may swing a case.
While you definitely need a working knowledge of what the law is, you really only need to obtain an associate's degree for this line of work. Sure, you could probably spend your entire life going through and memorizing every single law out there, but laws change all the time so chances are you're going to have to look it up anyway.
Litigation paralegals are the backbone of the trial team. They manage all of the details throughout every phase of the trial, from investigations to pleadings and discovery. The litigation paralegal works closely with attorneys in depositions, witness preparation and research. The paralegal is typically the one who prepares and handles all exhibits.
Litigation paralegals research and analyze law sources such as statutes, recorded judicial decisions, legal articles, treaties, constitutions and legal codes to prepare legal documents such as briefs, pleadings or appeals for use by the attorney. They draft routine legal documents for review and use by attorneys, compile and prepare draft discovery responses, and review and analyze reports, responses and records produced by opening counsel.
Some skills that are necessary to have include excellent verbal and written communication skills, high attention to detail, resourceful research and analytical skills, ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects and tasks, and proficiency in Microsoft Office. The reported average annual salary for an litigation paralegal is approximately $55,340, with job growth in the U.S expected to increase 12% by 2028.
A legal clerk is a member of a law firm who works on different administrative activities on a daily basis. Legal clerks primarily conduct research on legal cases related to the ones that the firm is currently handling. They also prepare memoranda, drafts of legal documents, case materials, and office orders.
They may also do proofreading and editing of legal documents before publishing. In addition, they may be assigned to communicate with clients, provide updates on cases, and communicate the schedule of hearings. When assigned to assist in specific cases, legal clerks are expected to be familiar with the procedure of handling that particular type of case. They should also provide administrative support throughout the proceedings.
To become a legal clerk, an individual must have a bachelor's degree, pass the LSAT, go to law school, and obtain a law degree. They may choose to further specialize in a specific topic or to get a graduate degree in law. Given the administrative nature of the work, legal clerks are usually fresh law school graduates who are new at a law firm.
Mouse over a state to see the number of active paralegal specialist jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where paralegal specialists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.
|Rank||State||Number of Jobs||Average Salary|
Philadelphia, PA • Private
Fort Worth, TX • Private
Boston, MA • Private
Evanston, IL • Private
Stanford, CA • Private
Saint Paul, MN • Private
Cambridge, MA • Private
Washington, DC • Private
New York, NY • Private
University Park, PA • Private
The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.5% of paralegal specialists listed legal research on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and computer skills are important as well.
Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Paralegal Specialist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Paralegal Specialist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.
After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:
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Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a paralegal specialist. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Paralegal specialists make the most in California with an average salary of $78,318. Whereas in Washington and Connecticut, they would average $75,364 and $74,543, respectively. While paralegal specialists would only make an average of $73,614 in New Hampshire, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.
1. District of Columbia
|Rank||Company||Average Salary||Hourly Rate||Job Openings|
|1||Federal Deposit Insurance||$94,263||$45.32||24|
|2||U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission||$84,995||$40.86||18|
|3||Federal Trade Commission||$81,430||$39.15||24|
|4||Steptoe & Johnson||$80,807||$38.85||8|
|5||U.S. Department of State||$78,641||$37.81||7|
|6||Social Security Administration||$78,407||$37.70||9|
|7||United States Department of Justice||$77,509||$37.26||56|
|8||Bank of America||$74,216||$35.68||12|
|9||State Attorney's Office||$73,263||$35.22||12|
|10||Small Business Administration||$71,429||$34.34||73|