A paralegal plays an important role in a law office. They perform legal research, prepare legal documents, and facilitate communications between clients, courts, and other law offices.
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A paralegal aide should have superior:
- Organizational skills
- Ability to research information and present findings
- Proficiency with technology
- Communication skills
Because paralegal assistants are often privy to sensitive information, they should uphold high ethical standards.
What to Know About Paralegal Programs and Degrees
Paralegal degree programs are offered through several venues. Many community colleges provide paralegal training through two-year associate degree programs. Professional paralegal organizations, such as the American Alliance of Paralegals, offer certification programs to working paralegals or those seeking entry to the field. Some colleges and universities even offer bachelors and master's degrees in paralegal assisting.
Some paralegals are highly specialized and require additional training. A nurse paralegal, for example, is usually a licensed nurse with expertise in the medical profession and additional training in paralegal assisting.
A typical course of study in paralegal assisting generally includes an introduction to different types of law, such as estate and corporate law, and classes in legal research and writing.
Paralegal Career Outlook
As of May 2008, median annual wages for paralegal technicians were $46,120. For those making more than $73,450, the top income bracket for the profession, generally worked in metropolitan areas and for large law firms.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts favorable job growth for paralegals ? 28 percent from 2008 to 2018, more than twice the national average for all occupations.