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What Does a Paralegal or Legal Assistant Do?

There’s a way to work in the field of law without going to law school. Paralegals and legal assistants organize legal documents, gather information about cases and assist lawyers during trials and hearings. Their research and organizational skills help lawyers prepare for trial.

Their skills are needed in all areas of law, from personal injury to corporate law. Most work for law firms and some work for government agencies. The smaller the law office, the more varied a paralegal’s daily routine is likely to be. Employment in this job is expected to grow by 10% from 2019 to 2029.

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Median Salary $
53,000
Jobs Available
15,300+
A paralegal or legal assistant does research for lawyers
You won’t find a paralegal’s name on the company sign, but these researchers are an indispensable part of any law firm. (Credit: Mangostar/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Conduct client interviews 
  • Locate and interview witnesses
  • Do research and track down information
  • Draft legal documents
  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
  • Summarize depositions and testimony
  • Attend legal hearings
  • File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel
  • Organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems, often using specific legal software 
EDUCATION + TRAINING

There are several paths to becoming a paralegal. Students can earn an associate degree in paralegal studies from a community college, which takes about two years. Some employers require a bachelor’s degree, though that degree can be in another subject. In that scenario, a certificate in paralegal studies from a program approved by the American Bar Association is needed. Additional training may be needed for electronic database management.

YOU MAY BE A GOOD FIT FOR THIS POSITION IF YOU
  • Have excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Have excellent computer skills
  • Have good interpersonal skills
  • Have excellent research skills
  • Have the ability to work well in a team environment
  • Are very organized
  • Are good with time management

Paralegal and Legal Assistant training in your area

Coordinates

American Society of Administrative
Professionals Professional Administrative
Certification of Excellence

Union County College
Cranford (0.0 Miles)

CNM Law Enforcement Academy, C. A. S.

Central New Mexico Community College
Albuquerque (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Studies Technical Certificate

Ivy Tech Community College
Indianapolis (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Technology Diploma

Durham Technical Community College
Durham (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Studies Certificate

Midlands Technical College
West Columbia (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal, A.A.S.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Post-Baccalaureate Technical Diploma

Madison Area Technical College
Madison (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal, A.A.S.

Schenectady County Community College - SUNY
Schenectady (0.0 Miles)

Electronic Discovery Certificate

Community College of Philadelphia
Philadelphia (0.0 Miles)

Legal Secretary Certificate

Santa Fe Community College
Santa Fe (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Studies Advanced Technical Certificate

Hillsborough Community College
Tampa (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Technology, A.A.S.

Pitt Community College
Winterville (0.0 Miles)
Image
'I’m helping someone who has suffered seek justice,' said paralegal Mary Brown. (Photo credit: Zolnierek/Shutterstock)
Meet Ambassador Mary Brown

Curiosity is the key to Mary Brown’s success as a paralegal. She started at a Baltimore law firm in an administrative position and she’s now a senior litigation paralegal.

"There’s always more to learn and it’s advantageous to always ask questions," says Mary.

That approach has served her well at Brown & Barron.

"Leaving my old industry and taking a chance for something completely new has been one of the best, most fruitful decisions I’ve ever made," she says.

So if you have a curious mind, learn more about what Mary has to say about being a paralegal.

Find Paralegal and Legal Assistant Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Document Management Analyst I - Washington, DC

CACI International Inc.
Washington ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Senior Filing Analyst

American International Group
Atlanta ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months ago

Paralegal, Litigation

XPO Logistics
Greenwich ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months ago

Paralegal I/Legal Assistant-Newark, NJ

CACI International Inc.
Newark ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

Legal Assistant

Progressive
Dallas ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago

Senior Paralegal

Leidos Holdings Inc.
Washington ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 1 week ago

Litigation Paralegal

McGuireWoods LLP
Baltimore ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 1 week ago

Paralegal, Real Estate Law

Ross Stores, Inc
Dublin ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 1 week ago