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Working As A Senior 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

  • $75,931

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Paralegal Do

Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.

Duties

Paralegals and legal assistants typically do the following:

  • Investigate and gather the facts of a case
  • Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
  • Organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems
  • Gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation
  • Write or summarize reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
  • Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages
  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
  • Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes, or reviewing trial transcripts
  • File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
  • Call clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions

Paralegals and legal assistants help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. 

Paralegals use technology and computer software for managing and organizing the increasing amount of documents and data collected during a case. Many paralegals use computer software to catalog documents, and to review documents for specific keywords or subjects. Because of these responsibilities, paralegals must be familiar with electronic database management and be current on the latest software used for electronic discovery. Electronic discovery refers to all electronic materials obtained by the parties during the litigation or investigation. These materials may be emails, data, documents, accounting databases, and websites.

Paralegals’ specific duties often vary depending on the area of law in which they work.

Corporate paralegals, for example, often help lawyers prepare employee contracts, shareholder agreements, stock-option plans, and companies’ annual financial reports. Corporate paralegals may monitor and review government regulations to ensure that the corporation is aware of new legal requirements.

Litigation paralegals maintain documents received from clients, conduct research for lawyers, retrieve and organize evidence for use at depositions and trials, and draft settlement agreements. Some litigation paralegals may also help coordinate the logistics of attending a trial, including reserving office space, transporting exhibits and documents to the courtroom, and setting up computers and other equipment.

Paralegals may also specialize in other legal areas, such as personal injury, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate.

Specific job duties may also vary by the size of the law firm.

In small firms, paralegals’ duties tend to vary more. In addition to reviewing and organizing documents, paralegals may prepare written reports that help lawyers determine how to handle their cases. If lawyers decide to file lawsuits on behalf of clients, paralegals may help draft documents to be filed with the court.

In large organizations, paralegals may work on a particular phase of a case, rather than handling a case from beginning to end. For example, paralegals may only review legal material for internal use, maintain reference files, conduct research for lawyers, or collect and organize evidence for hearings. After gaining experience, a paralegal may become responsible for more complicated tasks.

Paralegals and legal assistants often work in teams with attorneys, fellow paralegals, and other legal support staff.

Unlike the work of other administrative and legal support staff employed in a law firm, the paralegal’s work is billed to the client.

Paralegals may have frequent interactions with clients and third-party vendors. In addition, experienced paralegals may assume supervisory responsibilities, such as overseeing team projects or delegating work to other paralegals.

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How To Become A Senior 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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Senior Paralegal Jobs

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Senior Paralegal Career Paths

Senior Paralegal
Contracts Specialist Program Manager Program Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Property Manager
Asset Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Paralegal/Office Manager Office Administrator Operations Manager
Chief Operating Officer
12 Yearsyrs
Compliance Analyst Compliance Manager
Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Compliance Analyst Compliance Specialist
Compliance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Senior Contract Administrator/Contract Administrator
Contracts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Contract Attorney Attorney
Deputy Chief Counsel
6 Yearsyrs
Contract Attorney Staff Attorney Legal Counsel
Legal Department Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Legal Specialist Office Manager Branch Manager
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Operations Vice President President
Managing Member
8 Yearsyrs
Paralegal/Office Manager Office Manager General Manager
Managing Partner
9 Yearsyrs
Realtor Property Manager Operations Vice President
President Of Operations
9 Yearsyrs
Contracts Manager Program Manager General Manager
President/Chief Executive Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Property Manager
Real Estate Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Contracts Specialist Business Analyst Assistant Vice President
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Realtor Sales/Marketing President/Chief Executive Officer
Senior Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager Executive Assistant/Office Manager Executive Assistant To Chief Executive Officer
Special Projects Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Contracts Manager Project Manager General Manager
Vice President, Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Senior Paralegal Demographics

Gender

Female

75.3%

Male

22.3%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

12.7%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.8%

French

12.0%

Russian

5.6%

Korean

4.0%

Portuguese

3.2%

Chinese

3.2%

German

3.2%

Polish

3.2%

Hindi

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Italian

2.4%

Ukrainian

1.6%

Armenian

1.6%

Japanese

1.6%

Swedish

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Marathi

0.8%

Dutch

0.8%

Danish

0.8%

Bulgarian

0.8%
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Senior Paralegal Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.6%

New York University

7.2%

Kaplan University

6.4%

Santa Clara University

6.0%

George Washington University

5.6%

Roosevelt University

5.2%

John Marshall Law School

5.2%

Boston University

5.2%

University of California - Irvine

4.0%

Temple University

4.0%

John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York

4.0%

University of Houston

4.0%

American University

4.0%

Hofstra University

4.0%

University of California - Berkeley

3.6%

University of Maryland - University College

3.6%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.6%

Georgetown University

3.6%

Florida International University

3.6%

University of San Diego

3.6%
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Majors

Legal Support Services

33.5%

Law

14.1%

Business

13.5%

Political Science

6.1%

Criminal Justice

6.0%

Legal Studies

5.4%

English

2.7%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

2.4%

Psychology

2.1%

Management

1.9%

History

1.5%

Finance

1.3%

Human Resources Management

1.3%

Sociology

1.3%

Education

1.2%

Real Estate

1.2%

Accounting

1.1%

Marketing

1.1%

Public Administration

1.0%

Liberal Arts

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

31.3%

Certificate

16.5%

Masters

14.5%

Other

14.1%

Doctorate

11.5%

Associate

11.1%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Senior Paralegal Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Paralegal/40 ACT Allianz Asset Management of America L.P New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $105,500
Senior Paralegal/40 ACT Allianz Global Investors of America, LLC New York, NY Oct 03, 2012 $105,500
Senior Paralegal/40 ACT Allianz Global Investors of America, L.P. New York, NY Apr 24, 2012 $102,000
Senior Paralegal Directv, Inc. El Segundo, CA Sep 30, 2011 $100,880
Senior Paralegal Morrison & Foerster LLP New York, NY Apr 01, 2013 $100,000 -
$110,000
Senior Paralegal and Contracts Officer Notorii LLC San Francisco, CA Jan 03, 2016 $85,000
Senior Paralegal The Walt Disney Company Burbank, CA Jul 16, 2009 $82,160
Senior Paralegal The Law Office of Isabel M. Hidrobo, P.C. New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $80,000
Senior Paralegal Morrison & Foerster LLP New York, NY Dec 27, 2011 $80,000 -
$90,000
Senior Paralegal Morrison & Foerster LLP New York, NY Apr 15, 2012 $80,000 -
$90,000
Senior Paralegal Morrison & Foerster LLP New York, NY Mar 30, 2011 $75,000 -
$85,000
Senior Paralegal Morrison & Foerster LLP New York, NY May 01, 2011 $75,000 -
$85,000
Senior Paralegal Law Offices of Anthony B. Choi Los Angeles, CA Feb 16, 2011 $70,658
Senior Paralegal Lee & Kent Corporation Los Angeles, CA Aug 30, 2012 $59,730
Senior Paralegal Boris B. Maiden Attorney at Law Brookline, MA Oct 01, 2012 $43,117
Senior Paralegal Assadi & Milstein, LLP New York, NY Sep 20, 2014 $42,500
Senior Paralegal Assadi & Milstein, LLP New York, NY Sep 27, 2014 $42,500

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Top Skills for A Senior Paralegal

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  1. Legal Documents
  2. Trial Preparation
  3. Counsel
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Reviewed and assembled numerous legal documents in preparation for trial.
  • Assisted staff counsel in all aspects of litigation management including factual investigation, document preparation, trial preparation and support.
  • Identify and select appropriate outside counsel to perform services required in handling of self-insured litigated matters in local jurisdictions.
  • Provide documentation on revenue contracts, board activity and compliance certification to auditors.
  • Conduct internal investigations, including identifying and interviewing fact witnesses, obtaining information for discovery responses, etc.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Paralegals

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Connecticut
  3. Colorado
  4. Nevada
  5. Washington
  6. Illinois
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Minnesota
  9. California
  10. Texas
  • (90 jobs)
  • (66 jobs)
  • (71 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (69 jobs)
  • (165 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (50 jobs)
  • (411 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)

Top Senior Paralegal Employers

Jobs From Top Senior Paralegal Employers

Senior Paralegal Videos

The Paralegal Profession: an insider's perspective (career panel discussion)

Career Advice on becoming a Notary Public by Anna S (Full Version)

Freelance Paralegal Live #1

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