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how to become a legal assistant
The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $39.43. They must make clients feel comfortable sharing personal information related to their cases. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Research skills. For example, paralegals may only review legal material for internal use, maintain reference files, conduct research for lawyers, or collect and organize evidence for hearings. In addition, experienced paralegals may assume supervisory responsibilities, such as overseeing team projects or delegating work to other paralegals. An entry-level legal assistant can earn around $12.00 per hour, while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can make $25.00 and more per hour. Most certificate programs provide intensive paralegal training for people who already hold college degrees. Pay Others move on to administration roles such as an office manager. If you’re in high school you can start preparing to become a legal assistant. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included). They also use computer programs for organizing and maintaining important documents. The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,160, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,500. However, many employers may prefer, or even require, applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. Many legal assistants work a forty hour week, but those in more involved legal roles might be expected to work overtime. In these cases, paralegals and legal assistants can take on a “hybrid” role within the firm, performing not only traditional paralegal duties but also some of the tasks previously assigned to legal secretaries or other legal support workers. Some of the work can be fast-paced, and paralegals must be able to work on multiple projects under tight deadlines. Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. Get a paralegal degree. In May 2019, the median annual wage for all workers was $39,810. In a smaller firm, a legal assistant would have a much broader range of duties, whereas in a larger firm they are expected to specialize in a particular area. Legal assistants are also hired by government agencies. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH. Of course, you might prefer to do one type of work at an earlier stage in your career, and another later on when you circumstances and lifestyle changes. The largest employers of paralegals and legal assistants were as follows: Paralegals and legal assistants often work in teams with attorneys, fellow paralegals, and other legal support staff. A legal secretary would also have to deal with project management; that means keeping paper and electronic files in order, setting up appointments, keeping track of deadlines, maintaining a detailed calendar, etc. If you are looking for advancement then a larger firm is the best place for the most opportunity. If you can get some work experience in an office environment this will also be helpful. Most paralegals and legal assistants have at least an associate’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies. There are a few different education ways to become a legal assistant. Becoming a legal assistant can provide you with a foundation for more advanced careers. The .gov means it's official. Some may work more than 40 hours per week in order to meet deadlines. Aspiring legal assistants who possess a degree and strong computer and database management skills will have the best job prospects. Please enable javascript to play this video. Paralegals and legal assistants held about 337,800 jobs in 2019. https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any And not using your time well can mean losing a case. In the past, much of this kind of work was done by lawyers themselves, but is now delegated to assistants. Due to their lower billing rates to clients, paralegals can be a less costly alternative to lawyers, performing a wide variety of tasks once done by entry-level lawyers. Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation. Most paralegals and legal assistants work in law offices. The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029. The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2019, which is the base year of the 2019-29 employment projections. They could investigate a legal case, prepare a defense, interview witnesses, and look for precedent. Formally trained paralegals with strong computer and database management skills should have the best job prospects.
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