Three Reasons to Consider a Degree in Paralegal Studies
1. Increased demand for paralegals (also called legal assistants) is projected for the future by law firms, government and corporations to recover positions lost in the recent economic downtown. Also a trend is expected for large corporations and government agencies to create more paralegal positions through ”in-house” legal departments to replace the high cost of outside attorneys and their staff. Some of these corporations and government agencies with high demand legal needs will include insurance, finance, healthcare and consulting firms. Formally trained paralegals are more likely to be competitive in the future.
2. Earn a good income relative to the length of training. The median wage for a paralegal is $46,680 or about $22.44 per hour according to the last survey in 2010 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median wage means that half of the employed paralegals earned more than this amount (up to $74,580) and half earned less than this amount ($33,840). Legal assistants working for large or big-city law firms with a constant flow of demand for services typically earn the higher salaries. Paralegals possess the following diverse range of skills: investigating facts (especially those obtained by searching electronic communications); researching regulations; to organizing and presenting information; maintaining facts in a computer database; writing reports for lawyers pre-trial; drafting correspondence or contracts; getting affidavits to use as evidence; and assisting lawyers during a trial. Excelling at a few of these skills may put one ahead of the competition.
3. Favorable work environment exists for paralegals. Law firms will remain the largest employer of paralegals. Work is done mostly in an office or law library with occasional travel to obtain information. Also desirable is the relative stability in paralegal positions because of the necessity of handling documents and taking statements in person. This lessens the likelihood for hiring to be done “off-shore” to fill paralegal positions for most situations.