Legal jobs encompass the high profile lawyers or partners in the firm, along with the support staff that helps them. Most jobs in legal exist at law firms, with about 30 percent within government agencies and corporate legal departments. Legal employment generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, with a law school degree for a lawyer. There are legal assistant jobs that are more entry level and include paralegal jobs.
Paralegal work is all of the behind the scenes preparation to get a lawyer ready for the case. This includes investigation of the case through legal articles, background checks, and possible laws that would help support the documentation. This information is then put into draft pleadings, motions for the court, and the preparation of legal arguments. Basically, paralegals can do everything but argue the case in court or give advice to the customer.
Other avenue for paralegals includes written agreements in contracts, marriage separations and mortgages, as well as estate planning. Depending on the size of the firm or corporation, paralegals may also prepare tax return and assist with the upkeep of financial records within the office. Paralegals can specialize in particular areas, including medical malpractice, real estate and bankruptcy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal positions are expected to rise by 22 percent during 2006-2016, mostly due to less lawyers being hired. Generally an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is required, along with additional certification. There are voluntary certifications offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants, and include the Advanced Paralegal Certification program, among others.
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