There are many opportunities for students who have an interest in criminal law and the justice system. Paralegals is one option that students can choose within the law enforcement field. The paralegal job description is to provide legal assistance or aid to both clients and employers through the justice system. Some paralegals work for corporations, government agencies, or law firms.
Paralegal Job Description
So, what do paralegals do? According to the American Bar Association, a paralegal is defined as a person who performs legal matters or works for a lawyer or legal firm. A paralegal is occasionally called a legal assistant. Maintaining and organizing documents, filing motions to the courthouse on case-sensitive materials, and interviewing clients are all part of the task of a paralegal.
Another paralegal definition is an attorney’s assistant; however, paralegals are not allowed to practice law in the courtroom itself. Knowing everything on what does a paralegal do, can help better prepare the student in the criminal justice field.
Education Requirements for a Paralegal
To become a paralegal, there are some education requirements needed to start working in the field. Earning an associate’s degree in paralegal studies will provide the student with a strong foundation of the basic principles that paralegals need to graduate. Courses offered while going for your two-year program include legal researching and writing, client counseling, and drafting summons.
Some jobs do ask that candidates earn a bachelor’s degree to make the Paralegal qualifications of certain employers. Classes necessary for four-year degrees include understanding the prosecution process of crimes, knowing how to protect against infringement, and developing skills of drafting, editing, and preparing legal documents for clients and lawyers.
There are some firms or law offices that may require a graduate level of education. Just remember, the more education a paralegal earns, the better the opportunities for employment will be offered, and usually a higher salary.
Job Outlook and Salary for Paralegals
Paralegal work is one of the most growing and in-demand occupations of the past few years. Paralegal job requirements vary from state to state. Most employers ask applicants to first meet education requirements. Once achieved, then specific skill sets are assessed.
The basic paralegal job requirements are research skills, document preparation, detailed knowledge of the legal system, and team player or contributor to the firm. Most employers also look for strong leadership skills and professionalism in their candidates.
An example of careers opportunities for paralegals are a workman’s compensation officer, financial assistant, plaintiff litigator, or Immigration handler. Some paralegal jobs are located in the private sector, working for high-end law firms. Alternative careers for Paralegals include working to help people in social services; for example, advising and supporting those without the means to pay for services themselves.
The average salary of a paralegal is $50,940, according to the BLS. However, it all comes down to who your employer is and how much time you’re willing to put into your career. Those who work for top-notch law firms or corporations can easily make a six-figure salary. However, if your career is all about the people (and not your wallet) and their need for justice, then helping those in the social service department of nonprofit organizations may be just what you are looking for.