- Legal Assistant
- Legal Secretary
These projections are estimates based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Paralegals are often thought to be just “office assistants” within a law office. Nothing could be further from the truth. Attorneys have to file, research, and maintain extensive paperwork. Since attorneys have to spend much of their time in the courtroom, paralegals take over much of the document handling that lawyers have to face on a daily basis.
While lawyers meet with their clients, spend their time studying cases inside and outside the courtroom, paralegals manage a great deal of the paperwork and legal documents. Even though the paralegal does not enter the courtroom, they are a very important part of the legal field. Paralegals cannot give legal advice because they do not study nor sit for a Bar Exam. This is truly most of the difference between a paralegal and the attorney. Most attorneys would not be able to run their offices efficiently without an excellent paralegal staff.
An online associate’s degree in paralegal studies qualifies a student to become a paralegal, legal assistant or legal administrator. The courses are not as difficult as one would find in a law school but it still covers much of the same material. Online degree programs in paralegal studies cover
- Legal processes
- Legal administration
- Writing legal documents
- Drafting legal documents
- Office skills
The law encompasses all parts of the educational process and therefore students should be prepared to take courses in many liberal arts areas such as history, math, philosophy, and even literature. Most people who earn their online associate’s degrees in paralegal studies are professionals who are interested in the law but usually do not have the time nor the desire to go to a law school. Paralegals are always involved in the process of the law and especially the extensive documentation that accompanies cases.
If you are seeking a career as a paralegal, communication and people skills are a must. You will meet with clients while the lawyer is not in the office. You will be responsible for communicating to the client which legal documents need signing, the progression of their individual cases and what the documents mean. Paralegals and legal assistants must be precise and organized and be able to take over where a lawyer left off. Team building skills are essential because you might be working with other assistants, paralegals and lawyers during any given day. Although a difficult job, becoming a paralegal can be very rewarding.
Paralegal Associate’s Degree Programs Enrolling Now