Paralegals and legal assistants are supportive personnel who work at law firms and legal offices. They perform a wide range of services in order to help lawyers prepare for trials and hearings; day-to-day duties include obtaining affidavits and evidence to be used in court, researching case law, filing exhibits and reading trial transcripts.
They are also responsible for various tasks related to client recordkeeping, legal documentation and other administrative needs. Paralegals and legal assistants may also contact clients, witnesses and attorneys in order to schedule meetings and legal depositions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 280,000 paralegals and legal assistants are currently employed in the United States.
A large number of paralegals begin their career with an associate degree program in paralegal studies or another law-related field. Most paralegal studies associate degree options include internships, where students receive supervised training from experienced lawyers and law office personnel. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their paralegal studies associate degree online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of postdegree job opportunities. The asynchronous (or self-paced) structure of most online paralegal studies programs is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities and other commitments that may interfere with campus-based learning.
Learn more about what you can do with an online associate degree in paralegal studies program and what kind of career opportunities you can pursue.
Online paralegal studies associate programs cover all essential areas of the profession, including legal research and writing, client recordkeeping and fundamentals of trial, corporate and international law. Internships also allow students to supplement their coursework with off site training and apply the skills and knowledge they have gained to real-world situations.
Many of today’s employers will only hire paralegal candidates that have earned professional certification; the best online paralegal studies associate programs prepare students for exams and other certification requirements, as well.
= National Federation of Paralegal Association - Edmonds, Washington
As defined by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, a Paralegal is a person, qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer.
This person may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work. Substantive shall mean work requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts.
National Federation of Paralegal Association