What does a Paralegal do and How Can You Become One?


Thinking of a career in law but not necessarily as a lawyer? One of the most promising careers today is paralegalism. Here is some information on what it is and how you can become a paralegal.

What is a paralegal?

A paralegal typically works under the supervision of a lawyer or a team of lawyers. As a paralegal, you can work for a private firm, the corporate legal office of a company, or a government agency. Paralegals handle many tasks. You may be asked to organize legal files for an attorney or law firm. A lawyer may also trust you to draft documents for them, deliver or collect documents, organize case evidence, interview experts and witnesses, and do many other things.

Most of what a paralegal does was usually performed by a legal secretary or lawyers, especially younger ones before paralegals became available.

How much can a paralegal earn?

The annual salary of a paralegal can be anywhere between $50,000 and $80,000, depending on the state, city, or region where they work.

Are all paralegals generalists?

Many paralegals choose to be generalists, but you can also opt to specialize in a particular field. Some of the specializations a paralegal can choose are the following:

  • Freelancing
  • Corporate
  • Probate and estate planning
  • Litigation
  • Family law
  • Intellectual property
  • Immigration
  • Debt and bankruptcy

How long does it take to become a paralegal?

Paralegal schools offer different programs, whether in-campus or online. You can become a paralegal by completing a two-year associate’s degree. This degree can help you find work as an entry-level paralegal or a legal assistant. There are law firms, companies, and legal departments in government that require a bachelor’s degree, however. This will take you four years to complete. To take your studies even further and possibly teach paralegal studies, you can also take a master’s program.

Paralegals are in high demand these days. Law firms and lawyers need someone with an understanding of the law to assist them in many tasks, and many corporate legal departments hire paralegals full-time instead of lawyers to save money. Call a school that offers paralegal programs today and find out more.