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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 $
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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 

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.

  • 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


Introduction: Legal Interpretation & TranslationShort-Term CTE

Pasadena City College
Pasadena (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting), A.S.

Florida State College at Jacksonville
Jacksonville (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Studies, Certificate of Achievement

College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Technology Legal Assistant General Certificate Level 1

Houston Community College
Houston (0.0 Miles)
Community College of Baltimore County logo

Legal Studies, A.A.S.

Community College of Baltimore County
Baltimore (0.0 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A. A. S.

Central New Mexico Community College
Albuquerque (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Technology, A.A.S.

Fayetteville Technical Community College
Fayetteville (0.0 Miles)

Paralegal Post- Associate Degree Certificate

Waubonsee Community College
Sugar Grove (0.0 Miles)

Machine Tool Operator II Certificate

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
Bowling Green (0.0 Miles)

Technical Diploma in Industrial Maintenance Technology

Louisiana Delta Community College
Monroe (0.0 Miles)

Law Office Administration, A.S.

Cypress College
Cypress (0.0 Miles)
Pensacola State College logo

Paralegal Studies, A.S.

Pensacola State College
Pensacola (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Mary Brown
'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


Casework Files Asssistant

Archimedes Global
Huntsville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 7 months 3 weeks ago


Microchip Technology Incorporated
Chandler ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 2 months ago

Corporate Paralegal (Capital Markets and Public Companies)

Fenwick & West LLP
Santa Monica ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 5 months 3 weeks ago

Corporate Paralegal

Liberty Tax Service
Virginia Beach ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 2 weeks ago


Search Results Web results Rock Central
Detroit ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 3 weeks ago

Appeals Paralegal

The New York County District Attorney's Office
New York City ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 1 week ago


Nashville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 4 weeks ago

Document Management Analyst- Washington, D.C.

CACI International Inc.
Washington ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago