For both paralegals and paralegals, salaries depend on geographic location, experience and education. Metropolitan areas tend to pay more, but their cost of living may be higher. Some of the highest-paid cities for paralegals include: As a legal assistant, you need to have certain skills to succeed – the ability to research, communicate well, and be organized, among many others. These are skills that many types of employers are looking for, so if you decide to change careers, the skills you learn at school and at work can help. As you can see, the courses to become a legal assistant or paralegal are very varied. This is because paralegals need to familiarize themselves with all kinds of laws in order to be able to provide support services to lawyers working in various fields. Drafting contracts, letters, and other legal documents While paralegals can find employment without a university degree or previous experience, education and training in this area can make a candidate more attractive to employers. Computers: Legal assistants enter important documents and information into electronic databases and organize them. You must also have strong computer research skills.
Most companies maintain online scheduling systems, so paralegals should be able to keep a detailed electronic calendar. Some lawyers hire assistants without legal training and train them in the workplace. However, a two- or four-year degree in paralegal studies can improve the chances of finding a position. Another option is a high school or college diploma combined with a paralegal certificate. Both NALA and NFPA offer these certifications. In addition to good formal training, paralegals must have certain technical skills to succeed in this industry. Some of the most important technical skills you should have are: Paralegals employed in law firms often work more than 40 hours a week, although those employed in companies and departments may benefit from more relaxed schedules. And you can probably forget about getting paid for an hour and a half for your hours over 40. The Ministry of Labour makes an exception to the overtime rules for the legal industry. Sally A.
Kane, JD. is a lawyer, publisher and author who has over two decades of experience in the legal services industry and has published hundreds of articles related to his career. Legal assistants often have the same skills in customer service, IT and organization as administrative or executive assistants. However, these competences will be specific to the legal field. Examples of legal assistant skills include: Some paralegals work as independent contractors and are hired by individuals or law firms to perform paralegal work in business. Some also work outside of law firms. While their responsibilities outside of a law firm may vary, they often perform legal functions in a particular area. Paralegals may also specialize in specific areas of law such as criminal law, family law, real estate law, or immigration law. As legal professionals, lawyers often don`t have time to keep up with the latest technologies. Therefore, paralegals typically take care of a variety of tasks, from creating presentations to conducting videoconference sessions to backing up files. Legal assistants with knowledge of Microsoft Office, legal software, and document management systems have an advantage over their less tech-savvy counterparts. In addition, paralegals may want to encourage continuous technological upgrades to keep their offices competitive with other emerging companies.
Law firms can be high-stress environments. Legal assistants can work with several different people on several different projects each day. In addition, many tasks are completed under tight deadlines. Therefore, paralegals need to be able to prioritize, delegate, and track multiple workflows. and all this while remaining calm under pressure. Given the sometimes sensitive nature of court proceedings, it`s also helpful if you have the ability to empathize with others. The work of the legal assistant often puts you at the center of clients who are going through very difficult times. Being compassionate and empathetic will certainly help you in your work. Creating and proofreading legal documents and correspondence You may already have some of these skills. For example, you could be a great writer. If so, it will only help you in your pursuit of a career as a legal assistant. Legal assistants assist lawyers by organizing legal documents, gathering information about cases, and assisting with trials and hearings.
Their research and organization of the facts and paperwork associated with the cases will help lawyers prepare for trial. Legal assistants can work in various fields, including corporate law, litigation, criminal law, immigration, etc. Although their functions vary depending on the size and type of law firm, the responsibilities of the legal assistant may include: But, as mentioned earlier, to increase your chances of getting a job as a legal assistant, it is important to get the right training. Once you`ve set foot in the door, keep learning, get a certificate (or two!) and get a graduate degree. This way, you`ll have the best chance of staying employed in the future and finding more lucrative jobs. I would advise those who want to pursue a legal career to do their own research on the different paths and paths you can take to get there. I feel like in education, you are being asked to do things the traditional way, and there is little or no encouragement to follow the CILEx path or seek legal education. I actively researched what would be good for me, including the type of company I want to work in. In addition, paralegals usually conduct legal research. For example, a legal assistant working for a defense lawyer might be asked to review the details of the indictment against his or her client. Disrespect is one of the most common complaints among practicing paralegals, although it is more than undeserved.
We recently sat down with Samantha Evans, a legal assistant, who kindly shared what she does over the course of an average day, her hopes for the future, and advice for those looking to get into the legal industry. Paralegals are often underutilized because their roles are minimized or misunderstood. They need to proactively educate businesses and business leaders about their essential skills to overcome this obstacle. They must constantly focus on all the ways in which they can contribute to customer service and profitability. Read more: Four professions similar to a paralegal or legal assistant Of course, the specific tasks of a job in this field depend on a variety of factors, including your level of education, experience, and area of expertise. For example, a legal assistant specializing in corporate law may have a very different job description than an assistant specializing in criminal law. Paralegals must work under the supervision of a lawyer, and their roles are limited by UPL rules. This can make it difficult for paralegals to get credit or recognition outside the company for their work behind the scenes. A paralegal who successfully writes an appeal letter cannot be recognized for this. The lawyer who approves it will receive all the prizes.