Paralegals provide legal support to lawyers by preparing legal documents, investigating facts and researching legal precedent, among other duties. While paralegals cannot give legal advice to clients or practise law, they are an integral part of an attorney’s office to begin legal action, formulate a defense and support the entire process.
Standard business hours
Paralegals typically work during regular office or business hours, clocking in around 40 hours a week. Depending on the type of law the practice specialises in and how much work needs to get done, a paralegal may need to work evenings and weekends on occasions. Also, a growing number of law firms offer flexible schedules and the option to work from home at least once a week.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
DVM / VMD degree
To become a paralegal, you’ll need to attain an associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited postsecondary institution. Although this is a common route to take for students, many employers are increasingly preferring candidates with a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies or a similar field like criminal justice.
With experience, you could progress to a more senior role with more responsibility such as senior paralegal, attorney, library technician and postsecondary instructor.
Certification, such as the Certified Paralegal (CP) credential offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), can improve your employment prospects.