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What Does a Paralegal and 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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$ 30,000 - $ 82,000
$ 52,000
37,440+
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)
A Day In the Life
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'I’m helping someone who has suffered seek justice,' said paralegal Mary Brown. (Photo credit: Zolnierek/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life

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.

Job 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 
Paralegal and Legal Assistant 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 To Become A Paralegal 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
Hutchinson Community College logo

Paralegal Certificate

Hutchinson Community College
Hutchinson (138.4 Miles)
Hutchinson Community College logo

Paralegal, A.A.S.

Hutchinson Community College
Hutchinson (138.4 Miles)
University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton logo

Industrial Mechanics And Maintenance Technology Certificate Of Proficiency

University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton
Morrilton (212.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton logo

Industrial Mechanics And Maintenance Technology Technical Certificate

University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton
Morrilton (212.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton logo

Industrial Mechanics And Maintenance Technology, A.A.S.

University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton
Morrilton (212.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Mechanical Systems Certificate

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Paralegal Technology, A.A.S.

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Paralegal Technology Certificate

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Paralegal Technology Certificate of Proficiency

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College logo

Legal Secretarial Certificate

University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College
North Little Rock (248.8 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Industrial Sciences & Technology-Mechanical Maintenance, A.A.S.

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)
Southern Arkansas University Tech logo

Mechanical Maintenance Technical Certificate

Southern Arkansas University Tech
Camden (292.5 Miles)

Find Paralegal and Legal Assistant Jobs in Your Area

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Paralegal and Legal Assistant