Let’s be honest, if everyone could get a job as a paralegal, everyone would—and they would be just as common as a fast food server or a convenience store worker. However, law firms, corporations and private practice lawyers typically hire applicants with solid training and work experience behind them. That means you will need to attend some form of online paralegal colleges just to get your foot in the door. (In addition, you may want to apply for an internship just for the invaluable work experience)
Paralegals can opt for an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in paralegal studies, or in a related field. If you take studies in a related field you may be asked to complete a paralegal certification course. In a few locations, paralegals may have to be licensed—particularly in venues where they have a greater degree of legal responsibility.
Online paralegal colleges do provide a wealth of information, including not only the law and an explanation of the system, but also in new ways of retrieving information. Remember, that much of your job as a paralegal will require researching, drafting papers and creating organized presentations and or records for a lawyer’s review. Much of what the lawyer does in court will be prepared by you, the paralegal. So this is a job that pays well and that is quite prestigious!
The job outlook for paralegals is promising. Companies are hiring more paralegals than ever before, and reducing expenses incurred by keeping attorneys on retainer. So you could opt to work for a lawyer or firm, or venture out into corporate paralegal work. Your job will mostly consist of filing and storing documents, though researching facts of a case are often included in tasks.
The companies most likely to hire paralegals instead of lawyers include insurance companies, finance companies and health care providers. Bear in mind that not all lawyers are going to pay top dollar just because they have the means. Some lawyers, even in big cities, are now increasing their own work hours doing paralegal work so that they can bill clients for more hours.
Therefore, after completing studies in online paralegal colleges, be sure to research the firm very well and compare the options and perks of a lawyer’s office with corporate opportunities. For more information on paralegal options in your area look for an online college offering specialization in this field.