Paralegal job opportunities exist across various industries and with:
private law firms and
To begin with...
Most employers desire paralegal candidates to possess post-secondary education. This is a given and you'll find it usually means possessing an associate's degree, a bachelor’s degree or a certificate in paralegal studies.
While this may not be true across the board, in California's Bay Area, this is most often a requirement. Check out employment listings on Craig's List or Monster.com for an idea of employer requirements.
What Paralegal Job Opportunities?
Usually law offices are the first place legal assistants gain employment. Fortunately, law firms want to remain competitive. The costs to litigate one case is expensive. If you tally partner, associate and paralegal rates with various expenses, a law office invoice can quickly reach into the thousands.
Clients are demanding more for their dollar. Individuals and businesses are examining their legal invoices more closely. They may object to a bill and ask where the fat can be trimmed.
For the law office this means...
Reducing costs which leads to more job responsibilities for legal assistants. Presumably salary increases, bonuses or time off will also follow.
You'll find that specializing in a particular area of law increases a paralegal’s economic value. Consider that most specialties have their own software programs, procedures, forms and processes.
Law offices specializing in labor and employment law for example, want a legal assistant familiar with:
wage and hour law, etc.
Reducing costs means finding someone with an established skill set.
Federal Job Opportunities?
There are a large number of paralegals working in government agencies. You'll find great benefits and be much less likely to see any downsizing issues affect your employment.
Paralegals employed with government agencies may:
conduct legal research,
compile and manage legal material for in-house use, and
collect evidence for agency meetings.
There are various federal positions for legal assistants including working with the various Courts, municipalities, in the military for the Judge Advocate General office, County offices, etc.
And, at the community level, paralegals assist with legal-aid clinics that help poor, elderly, and others gain access to legal assistance.
Working at the community level is a great way to gain experience in the legal field. While helping your community you'll develop skills and networking connections all of which can help build your career.
There are various paralegal employment opportunities. While law firms are the first place for legal assistants to consider, you may also find rewarding employment with local, state and federal government agencies as well as at the community level.