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Become a Paralegal

Intrigued by the law? Prepare for an in-demand career as a paralegal in less than a year. The U.S. Department of Labor expects paralegal jobs to grow 28 percent from 2008 to 2018. As a paralegal, you may prepare arguments, obtain affidavits, and help lawyers prepare for cases.

Quick education: Do you already have a bachelor’s degree? If so, you might be able to earn a certificate in paralegal studies in just a few months. If not, consider earning your associate’s degree in two years.

Good compensation: Paralegals have an average annual income of $50,080. The highest ten percent earn more than $75,000.

What Paralegals and  Legal Assistants Do

Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers,  including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and  drafting documents.

Work  Environment

Paralegals and legal assistants are found in all types of organizations, but  most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, or government agencies.   They usually work full time, and overtime is sometimes needed to meet important  deadlines.

How to Become a  Paralegal or Legal Assistant

Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate’s degree or a  certificate in paralegal studies. In some cases, employers may hire college  graduates with a bachelor’s degree but no legal experience or education and  train them on the job.


The median annual wage of paralegals and legal assistants was $46,680 in May  2010.

Job Outlook

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18  percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.   This occupation attracts many applicants, and competition for jobs will be  strong. Experienced, formally trained paralegals should have the best job  prospects.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of paralegals and  legal assistants with similar occupations.



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Category: Career Central

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