Monday, January 30, 2017



Our Paralegal Certificate Program - An Introduction to a Career as a Paralegal



A Paralegal earns an average salary of $44,579 per year. A skill in Legal Compliance is associated with high pay for this job. The paralegal profession has grown tremendously since its introduction in the 1960s. Now there are more than 256,000 paralegals working in the United States. Additionally, paralegal jobs are projected to grow by 18% from 2010-2020. 1


Job Description
Paralegals perform legal-, regulatory- and business-related research for lawyers working at their organization. Most of the time paralegals work for law offices, corporations’ legal departments or courts. These professionals also provide legal support services to attorneys. They assist lawyers in filing materials such as motions, memoranda, pleadings and briefs in various court systems, as well as accompany lawyers to see clients and/or to go to court. 

Paralegals may have to interview clients either by phone or in person prior to referring them to their organization's lawyers; they may have the authority to accept or reject potential clients. Paralegals also edit pleadings, technical papers, briefs and other documents, helping review legal documents to make sure that relevant facts are included. They may have to travel to various courts to accompany their organization's lawyers, and they may have to train and coach new or more junior paralegals.

An associate's degree or certificate in paralegal studies is generally needed in this position; some employers require that paralegals have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Previous experience as a paralegal is often required or preferred as well. Paralegals should have excellent written and oral communication skills, know relevant legal terminology and principles, be able to work in a team environment and be proficient with basic computer programs such as the Microsoft Office suite. Additionally, they must be knowledgeable about legal citation rules, legal libraries, various court systems’ rules and relevant filing requirements. 

Paralegal Tasks
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents.
  • Prepare affidavits or other documents, maintain document file and file pleadings with court clerk.
  • Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts and real estate closing statements.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
  • Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts or preparing legal documents.

Popular Skills for Paralegal and what effect each skill has on pay:

      Legal Research - $42,000
·       Document Management - $44,000
·       Document Preparation - $42,000
·       Client Interaction - $41,000
·       Case Management - $42,000
     
      Source: payscale.com

To sign up for our Paralegal Certificate Program, visit www.freeparalegal.org


1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Paralegals and Legal Assistants, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm (visited March 05, 2013).