Legal assistants, also known as paralegals are responsible for legal work delegated by lawyers. They work in firms and offices to assist lawyers with their day-to-day tasks. This occupation is unique in the sense that duties are often changing. Legal assistants perform a lot of the same tasks that lawyers do, but are not allowed to do anything that within the scope of law practice like giving legal advice, presenting cases in court, setting fees, etc.
Helping lawyers prepare for hearings, closings, and trials are some of the legal assistant main duties. Completing these tasks require investigation of laws and precedents, as well as the ability to identify laws and legal articles. It takes a very legal-minded person to become a successful legal assistant. Many legal assistants aspire to become lawyers themselves, and use the job as a way to not only gain first-hand legal experience, but to get a foot in the door of the legal industry.
The salary of a legal assistant varies immensely depending on education, training, experience, employer, and city in which they work. Larger firms in metropolitan areas will pay more than small firms in less populated areas, and legal assistants with a relevant degree typically earn more than those without one.
- Education Requirements: Associate degree in paralegal studies, bachelor degree with certificate in paralegal studies
- Job Increase: Expected to increase greatly within the next decade