There is a growing need for paralegals. As one of the highest growing careers, a prospective paralegal has to understand what the job description entails. There are many differences in the job description depending on the degree the paralegal has. A paralegal can have a diploma certificate, an associates degree, a bachelors degree or even a masters degree. A diploma certificate is the type of degree level that takes the least amount of time to complete.
A diploma certificate takes less than a year to complete. An associates degree takes two years to complete. A bachelors degree take four years to complete. A masters degree is the highest level degree that a paralegal can obtain. In order to complete a masters degree, a student must first complete a bachelors degree than at least two years of courses after that. Many paralegals decide to complete a diploma certificate first and work while completing a higher level degree. A work day for a paralegal depends on the type of office a paralegal is employed in.
Working for a Small Firm
A paralegal professional who is employed in a small firm will have a vast list of responsibilities. A small firm might not employ both a paralegal and a legal assistant. Often, the paralegal will take on the responsibilities of both titles. The paralegal’s job is to assist the attorney. This can be done by drafting legal documents, scheduling
appointments, filing documents, getting papers notarized and mailing letters to clients. A small firm might also require their paralegal to do their billing. In a small firm, a paralegal’s job description is not finite. Their job description can change daily. A paralegal employed in a small firm must be able to adapt well to changes.
Working for a Large Firm
A paralegal professional who is employed in a large firm will have a more specialized list of responsibilities. A large firm often has several employees working for them. Each of these employees will have a specialized list of responsibilities that they are required to complete. A paralegal in a large firm will usually only do typical paralegal work instead of legal assistant work as well. Their job duties may include drafting legal documents, assisting the attorney at small trials, mailing legal documents and having papers notarized.
Some large firms give their paralegals the task of interviewing clients prior to meeting with the attorney. In certain states, a certified paralegal can even have their own social security cases. When a paralegal is handling a social security case, they are able to present the case to the court without an attorney present. A paralegal who is employed in large firm should be a person who likes to work in a structured environment.
The day in the life a paralegal can change often. As the paralegal obtains higher certifications and degree levels, they are faced with more responsibilities. Working in the legal field is exciting and fun. In order for a future paralegal to determine the type of legal environment they wish to work in after graduation, they should intern at several different firms.