Paralegal Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for paralegals is very good,  with an expected growth rate near 33 percent a year through 2010. The bureau notes that compared to other professions, the leap in the paralegal field is dramatic.


The paralegal or legal assistant profession is expected to grow because of a couple of economic factors. One, more law firms are hiring paralegals to do some of the necessary legwork – research and paper work on their behalf. This frees up the attorney for court appearances and for developing client-attorney relationships, two duties a paralegal is not allowed to do. Two, having a paralegal do the work rather than an expensive paid by the hour attorney saves the client money.


Law firms are not the only agencies that hire paralegals or legal assistants. Many corporations, businesses and non profit agencies have also seen the benefit of having a paralegal on staff. If you are considering a career as a legal assistant, keep that in mind and do not narrow your job search only to law firms or private attorneys – unless, of course, your passion is to work for a law office or directly for an attorney.


While the paralegal job market looks great, competition to participate in the paralegal field will be increasingly stiff. With competition growing, the best way to make yourself marketable in the field is to get all the training you possibly can. Once upon a time, legal assistants were trained on the job. There was not professional training other than clerical training that would prepare a person for a career as a paralegal. Many of those paralegals are retiring these days, having been hired in the 1960s or 1970s when the paralegal field really began. Now, the lawyers and firms they have been working for over the last 20 some odd years want their replacements to be trained and ready to work.


Getting training for a career as a legal assistant is convenient, even for those people who have other jobs who want to train in their spare time for a paralegal career. Many community colleges offer paralegal training certification in two year study programs. Some colleges and universities offer paralegal training as part of a four year course of study. Even more opportunities exist online and through correspondence courses. Research all your options and weed out the ones that just don’t make sense for you. When you take time to look at all the training possibilities available, you will see that there is course work available to fit your time and budget constraints.


Of course, even with training and certification as a paralegal, you will still have to get in sync with your boss, whether working for an individual attorney, a firm, or as a paralegal in the business sector. Getting to know the expectations of your job and your role as a paralegal in the office in which you work will also play a factor in your success in your career as a legal assistant.


Article by Scott Knutson

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