If you're considering a career in paralegal, now is a good time to find the right paralegal program. Paralegals research and complete important legal documents and communicate important information to clients, although they cannot offer official legal advice or present at trial. A paralegal program prepares you for a career as a paralegal, a legal administrator, or a legal assistant.
Paralegal Program Success Factors
Successful paralegal professionals display good communication skills, are able to communicate effectively to clients, and are goal-oriented. They have the leadership to take ownership of projects and are dedicated to teamwork. They are able to effectively follow directions and work efficiently on their own.
Paralegal Program Curriculum
Paralegal programs typically focus their curriculum on legal documentation, writing, drafting, and legal processes and administration. A paralegal program curriculum also focuses on the law as it relates to many different areas. Typical paralegal program courses include arts and sciences, math, philosophy, literature, environmental studies, history, ethics, sociology, psychology, and writing.
Paralegal Program Degrees
An associate's degree is often sufficient for an entry-level assistant job or as a gateway to a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies. The bachelor's degree in paralegal studies is the most common route to an entry-level position at a law firm as a paralegal. Certificate programs provide specialized paralegal training to a college graduate and are often required for employment at larger law firms. Paralegals are often required to continue their education throughout their career.
While most paralegal program graduates go on to become paralegals, they do have other career options as well. Professionals with a degree in paralegal studies can also find work as a clerical assistant or secretary in nearly any industry. Paralegals are usually responsible for filing legal documents with court clerks, such as pleadings, wills, marriage certificates, and divorce papers. In some larger law firms, paralegals will act as supervisors for legal secretaries and assistants. Law firms that specialize in property and real estate may require the paralegal to appraise property and assets.