Behind Every Great Lawyer Is a Great Paralegal
“Behind every great lawyer is a great paralegal” is a sentence scrawled on many a magnet and coffee mug. And there’s some truth in the saying, because paralegals aid attorneys in nearly every facet of the legal profession. From drafting motions to summarizing reports of legal precedent, a paralegal can help lighten a lawyer’s load tremendously. Like lawyers, paralegals can specialize in certain types of law, such as criminal, corporate, immigration and family. Also known as legal assistants, paralegals’ involvement in cases depends on their employer’s discretion. Some have a high degree of responsibility and autonomy, while others are restricted to narrower roles. The best paralegals are team players who operate behind the scenes. Paralegals work in a variety of settings, but they’re most commonly employed by law firms, government agencies and legal departments at corporations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8 percent employment growth for paralegals between 2014 and 2024, which will add 21,200 positions. Legal firms are expected to hire more paralegals and legal assistants to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Becoming a paralegal is a great option for individuals who are interested in law but don’t want to endure the lengthy process of becoming a lawyer.
Although there are no set requirements for becoming a paralegal, most in the profession have an associate degree in paralegal studies from a community college, and some with bachelor’s degrees obtain a certificate in paralegal studies after graduation. These certificate programs last only a few months and provide an intense introduction to the field. Before enrolling in either an associate degree or certificate program, a prospective paralegal should investigate the placement rate of recent graduates. Completing an established internship program frequently leads to being hired. Some employers hire college graduates and provide their own on-the-job training.
Northwest’s Paralegal Studies Program offers students a well-rounded educational experience necessary for their absolute success in our program and in the legal field. Our students gain experience in drafting various legal pleadings, correspondence and other documents, coupled with the experience in legal research; whereby, students continue to develop their writing and research skills utilizing such tools as WestlawNext, Nevada State Legislature, U.S. House of Representatives, Clark County Courts, Nevada State Supreme Court and U.S. District Courts.
Upon completion of their course studies, students then venture on to their 300-hour externship with a law firm or governmental agency so they may improve their skills and gain experience on actual cases, under the direct supervision of an attorney. Upon completion of both the course work and externship (approximately 18-months in length), students then earn an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Northwest Career College.
Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that’s fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy.
A career as a Paralegal is a wonderful choice for any interested individual, and there exists opportunities for advancements and salary in this field, as well. We believe our program here at Northwest Career College offers the best in legal education, research, writing and communication skills for each student’s utmost success as they transition into their prospective positions in the legal community.