What is a Legal Assistant/Paralegal, and what will I learn?
Legal assistants and paralegals are workers who assist lawyers with the day-to-day functions of filing, research, and documentation for court hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. They are a huge part of the overall success of both the law firm and the justice system. For this reason, legal as sistants and paralegals study how to effectively investigate and gather the facts of a case, conduct research, write summaries, and schedule meetings such as interviews and depositions. A paralegal may also help draft employee contracts, shareholder agreements, stock-option plans, and companies’ financial reports. The job is a great foundation for someone considering work as an attorney.
Future legal assistants and paralegals earn either an associate’s degree or short-term certificate to prepare them for the job. The short-term certificate can be completed in less than a year. Enterprise State’s Paralegal Studies program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). The college is the only two-year college in the state to have earned the recognition.
You must be able to present your research and related information in a respectful, understanding manner.
You need to be familiar with how to use computers for legal research and litigation support.
You will spend most of your time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to make clients feel comfortable sharing personal information related to their cases.
You must be able to multi-task, as you may have to work on many cases at one time.
You will gather facts for cases and research information on relevant laws and regulations that will help attorneys prepare for cases.
can I get?
Legal assistants and paralegals work with attorneys in the federal government, finance and insurance, and local and state government.
What type of work
do the jobs consist of?
Legal assistants and paralegals do most of their work in offices, although they may sometimes travel to get information or attend trials and depositions with the attorneys for which they work.
As a legal assistant or paralegal, you will likely work in teams with attorneys, fellow paralegals, and other legal support staff to collect data and review documents legal support staff to collect data and review documents for depositions, trials, and other court-related tasks.
You will write and summarize reports, file exhibits and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel, and interact with clients, witnesses, lawyers and others for relevant meetings. You will need to be familiar with technology and computer software that can help manage documents over time. You will also need a smart filing system of important emails, data, documents, and accounting information.
What’s the career
On average, paralegals made $50,410 in 2017. Entry-level legal assistants and paralegals earned less than $31,130, and the highest earners made more than $81,180.1
There is a huge need for paralegal and legal assistants because law firms are counting on the workers to help reduce billing costs and streamline office services. The field is expected to grow by 15% in the next seven years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is faster than the average for all occupations!
For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Nelson – Department Chair
Phone: 334-347-2623 x2338
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1Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics