Paralegal Program Career Facts
Paralegals are professionals who provide non-clerical services under the supervision of an attorney. Tasks that might be performed by paralegals include maintenance of important documents relating to lawsuits or business transactions, preparation of trial exhibits, legal research and investigation, drafting of court pleadings and legal documents, and completion of form documents. The actual practice of law is restricted to licensed attorneys. Work performed by paralegals allows attorneys to commit more time to activities that specifically require the expertise of a trained lawyer. Use of paralegals results in lower costs for legal services and greater efficiency and economy for all concerned.
The successful paralegal has excellent reading and writing skills, enjoys research, investigation, and preparation of documents and trial exhibits, and is able to work independently or as a part of a team. The paralegal works in a fast-moving, challenging environment where high standards of performance are expected and rewarded.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 edition, midrange salaries for paralegals in 2006 in the United States ranged from $33,920 to $54,690. Large law firms typically pay more than small law firms, and some areas of legal specialty pay higher than others. The salary of a paralegal with a bachelor's degree will typically be higher than that of a paralegal with an associate's degree.
Job Market Outlook:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the paralegal profession to grow faster than average, 22% between 2006 and 2016. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth forecasts 109 openings for paralegals/legal assistants per year in the state between 2004 and 2014. Competition for jobs is expected to be high, and nationwide and state statistics do not necessarily reflect trends in all localities.
The typical educational level required by employers is an associate's degree. Some employers require a bachelor's degree, and some employers require that paralegal training be from a program approved by the American Bar Association. LCC's program is approved by the American Bar Association.
Types of Jobs:
Graduate of the programs have the training and background to successfully perform a variety of legal services. Employment opportunities exist in law firms, corporate legal departments, banks, insurance companies, credit and collection agencies, title insurance companies, real estate offices, various parts of the criminal justice system, court systems, and government agencies. Graduates have valuable skills that are attractive to employees outside the legal field as well.
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