PARALEGALS ASSIST LAWYERS AND HELP THEM PREPARE FOR MEETINGS, HEARINGS AND TRIALS.
Their duties may include research and investigation of facts using public records and the internet; cataloging and organizing printed and electronic documents; maintaining files, drafting correspondence, obtaining affidavits and statements; and calling clients and other lawyers to arrange meetings, interviews and depositions. They may also assist lawyers during trials by taking notes and reviewing transcripts.
The vast majority of paralegals work for attorneys and firms offering legal serices, but they may also find employment in local, state and federal government, or for finance and insurance companies.
Although some employers may prefer that their paralegals have bachelor's degrees, most paralegals have an associate degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. There are a number of community colleges and technical schools across the country that offer two-year degree and/or certificate programs for those wishing to become paralegals. These programs may have received approval by the American Bar Association.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2018), a publication of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2017 the median annual wage for paralegals was $50,410, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $81,180.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics goes on to project that employment among paralegals will grow approximately 15 percent from 2016 to 2026. Much of this growth is attributed to a need by law firms to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and respond to their clients' demands for less expensive legal services. Although paralegals' hours are billed to clients, their hourly rate is much lower than that of lawyers.
By Susan Reese
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|Title Annotation:||CAREER CURVE|
|Article Type:||Occupation overview|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2019|
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