The Paralegal Profession Abraham Lincoln once said"prepare yourself for the day opportunitypresents itself, and you will be rewarded,"The process of entering a career in paralegalusually consist of several steps to "prepareoneself"
Paralegals may be employed in:• Public and private law firms:• Corporations• Government agencies• Banks• Insurance companies• Real estate agencies
Did you knowEmployment is expected to grow much faster than average, but competition is expected• Best Opportunities – Formally trained – Experienced paralegals
Examples of Paralegal Work• Maintain general contact with clients interview clients• Conduct legal research• Draft legal documents• Assistant legal investigations• Locate and interview witnesses• Track important deadlines• Know the local court system and attend legal proceedings
Paralegal careers may include: Senior Administrative Legal Assistant, Workmans Analyst, City of Department of Compensation Atlanta Solicitor’s Justice Paralegal OfficeDetention Officer Litigation Paralegal Legal Secretary
What Will I Do? Assist in Investigate Identify Assist Draft Assist inpreparation the facts of Important attorneys Contracts, preparingof hearings, the cases Precedents during trials mortgages, tax returns, closings, and trust funds, trials, and separation and estate corporate agreements planning. meetings.
Where Will I Work? Legal Corporate Services Legal Departme ntsInsurance Government Carriers Offices Employment Services
Possible Job TitlesParalegal Examines and InvestigatorsLegal Assistant Law ClerkClaims Adjuster Occupational Health and Safety Specialists Occupational Health and Safety technicians Titles Examiners Abstractors and Searchers
Possible Specialties• Litigation• Personal Injury• Corporate Law• Criminal Law• Employee Benefits• Intellectual Property• Family Law• Real Estate• Immigration• Bankruptcy• Labor Law
Corporate Paralegals VS. Litigation ParalegalsCorporateParalegalsEmployee Contracts Litigations ParalegalsShareholder Agreements • Analyze Legal Information forStock Option Plans Often internal use Assist • Maintain Reference FilesEmployee Benefits Plans • Conduct Research for attorneysFile Annual Financial Reports With… • Collect and Analyze evidence forMaintain Corporate Minutes (record agency hearingsresolutions) • May prepare informational materialPrepare forms to secure loans for on laws, agency regulations, andcorporation. agency policy • File Forms, Conduct research, andMonitor and review government prepare documentsregulationsMay oversee team projects
Working Conditions• Work in offices and law libraries• Occasional travel may be required• Generally work a standard 40-hour week – Most paralegals work year round – Some temporarily employed during peak times – Overtime may be required
Employment • Paralegals and legal assistants held about 263,800 jobs in 2008. – Private law firms employed 71 % – Remainder in corporate legal departments & government • Federal Government – DOJ is the largest employer – Followed by the SSA and the DOT • Small number of paralegals – Own their own businesses – Work as freelance legal assistants
How can Iseparatemyself fromother Obtain Contact local Keep anCandidates? Internships offices and open min at local law agencies for about your offices and volunteer career path companies opportunities
NALA Certification• The National Association of Legal Assistants –
Professional Associations• www.nala.org -The National Association of Legal Assistants is a professional association for legal assistants, providing continuing education and professional certification programs for paralegals.• http://aapipara.org - American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP) credential, a voluntary certification program.• www.paralegals.org - The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) offers the Registered Paralegal (RP) designation to paralegals with a bachelors degree and at least 2 years of experience who pass an exam.
Websites for Additional Information and Job Opportunities• http://www.bls.gov/oco/ - U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook• http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/paralegals - Standing Committee on Paralegals, American Bar Association• http://www.nals.org/ - National Association of Legal Secretaries• http://www.aafpe.org/ - American Association for Paralegal Education• http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/ - This is a resource for locating and applying for job opportunities