Different Kinds of Jobs You Can Get With a Paralegal Studies Degree
What kinds of jobs can I hold with a degree in paralegal studies?
Regardless of the level of education that you attain, the number of legal assisting and paralegal jobs that you can hold are limited. In order to increase your job opportunities in the field, it is recommended that you earn your associates or bachelors degree. At minimum, you need to get your paralegal certification to find jobs in paralegal positions. However, you can start your paralegal career with any of the following jobs for paralegal students:
Although you can be hired to do a few different jobs with a paralegal degree, the most common of all the careers in paralegal studies is, naturally, the paralegal. Paralegals, or legal assistants, provide support to lawyers and attorneys by performing administrative tasks and helping to conduct research. But they are more than a legal secretary. In fact, paralegals often work in litigation. They prepare legal documents, transcribe depositions and organize information in preparation for court.
Although most paralegals work in law firms, some paralegals also work for large corporations that have legal departments. Corporate paralegals usually specialize in business law, which makes them valuable assets to companies who have an interest in conducting legal and ethical business deals. However, paralegals are not attorneys. Therefore, they cannot represent individuals or businesses in court, nor can they dispense legal advice.
At minimum, you need to earn a paralegal certificate, which takes 9 months to a year. But you should earn at least an associates degree, which takes 2 years, if you want more job opportunities. You will also earn a higher paralegal salary of up to $74, 870 if you have more education. But the average salary that you can expect is $46,700.
Judicial Law Clerk
Judicial law clerks, who are also known as judicial assistants, provide administrative support to judges. Although this is not technically a paralegal job, they do share many similar duties. Some of the tasks they perform that are similar to those in a career in paralegal studies are screening phone calls, reviewing official correspondence for accuracy and preparing legal documents. In addition, judicial law clerks are often asked to organize and maintain files and schedule appointments between judges and attorneys. Finally, advanced law clerks may create fiscal documents like expenditure reports and payroll records.
You need at least a high school diploma to become a judicial law clerk, although it is strongly recommended that you earn a 2-year associates degree. If you choose to become a judicial law clerk, you will work mainly in judicial offices and in courts of law with the judge that you assist. The average salary is $42,450, but your salary can have a broad range. You can earn as little as $23,600 when you start, but you can earn as much as $74,940 with experience and more education.
Legal secretaries exclusively perform administrative tasks at law firms. That is, instead of conducting research, their duties are restricted to taking messages from clients and preparing legal documents. Some of the documents that legal secretaries put together on a regular basis are court summons, legal complaints and subpoenas. Some legal secretaries also review legal journals and briefs. Therefore, they need to clearly understand both legal terminology and procedures, like all other paralegal careers.
The minimal level of education that you must obtain in order to find work as a legal secretary is a high school diploma. However, more education is always better, and that sentiment is especially true when it comes to attempting to find a job at a law firm. Therefore, it is recommended that you pursue an associates degree, which generally takes 2 years, if you want to become a legal secretary. And of course, the more education that you have, the more money you are likely to make. The average salary for legal secretaries is about $41,500.