Going to paralegal school or attending a university program specializing in paralegal law is the best way to get a start in this exciting career. There are many areas of expertise that paralegals can work in so gaining an understanding of what these are is a good way to decide where you want your career to progress to over time.
Types of Paralegals Include:
Nurse Paralegal - An excellent choice for paralegals who have some experience or interest in the medical profession.
Patent Paralegal - These paralegals have the potential to earn the most money while they aid patent attorneys and agents in filing patent-related paperwork.
Immigration Paralegal - A unique paralegal career choice.
Real Estate Paralegal - These paralegals help in the process of buying and selling property for clients.
Bankruptcy Paralegal - A niche paralegal area that is growing.
Family Law - Takes care of all legal issues relating to families such as divorce and estate planning.
Litigation Paralegal - These paralegals work with lawsuits of different types.
Real estate paralegals are one of the most common areas of paralegal work. These paralegals undertake various tasks such as preparing closings, performing due diligence, liaising with clients during the purchase and contract exchange process of property sales, and researching the title and administrative processes. Real estate law takes in all aspects of buying and selling property as well as the finance and leasing of property (both commercial and residential). Paralegals work closely with property solicitors to ensure the property exchange process goes smoothly.
Litigation paralegals settle lawsuits. These paralegals need to be familiar with civil procedure and discovery but it will depend what type of litigation the paralegal is involved in. The two types are civil and criminal. Litigation paralegals must undertake a lot of work per client so it is one of the more strenuous branches of this profession. Some tasks of a litigation paralegal include interviewing the witnesses, investigating the facts, aiding in the preparation of appeals, tracking court deadlines and drafting pleadings.
If you are interested in law but do not wish to become a lawyer, consider a paralegal career. It is just as exiting as a career as an attorney, but does not require a law degree. As you can see, there are also many different branches of the paralegal profession that you can choose from based on your interests.
Paralegal Salary Facts
Paralegal careers are very popular due to the interesting work and potential salary of employees. The median paralegal salary stands at about $45,000 but there is plenty of scope and opportunity to drastically increase your salary through further study, increased experience and smart job searching.
There is always a large variation in salaries between legal firms. Large firms will generally pay a paralegal more than very small firms. Government agencies also offer excellent salary opportunities for paralegals with higher earnings and more benefits. Most of the time paralegals are paid by attorneys based on the quality and also the quantity of work delivered.
Sometimes law firms favor specific qualifications in their paralegals and as such if you meet these requirements you will be entitled to a larger salary and benefits. Paralegals often receive bonuses. The average bonus per year is around $3,400. The average paralegal salary is said to increase by around $1700 per year but this number may fluctuate depending upon economic conditions.
Paralegals are known to work exceptionally long hours. Depending upon the terms of your contract, you may be eligible for over-time as a paralegal. As mentioned, bonuses are also paid as a reward for their dedication.
Paralegals and legal assistants earn different average salaries based on both education and experience as well as the quality of the employer. In general, legal firms in major cities will pay considerably more than those in rural or regional areas.
Junior paralegals generally start on a low wage of around $25,000 but quickly progress as they gain experience with most receiving a pay rise each year. The top paralegals can command more than $60,000 per year and these people are generally experts in one area of the paralegal profession.
Some common tasks performed by paralegals include:
All of these tasks combine to make-up a job that requires much attention to detail and knowledge about the legal system. And this is why paralegals can potentially earn an excellent salary. So if this sounds interesting to you, consider pursuing a career as a paralegal, it's an exciting career field that doesn't require years of school and experience.