5 Signs a Career as a Paralegal is Right for You
There’s a reason legal dramas are one of the most popular genres on TV today. You’ve seen the boisterous criminal lawyers on TV, gesturing wildly, passionately unpacking their client’s story—tugging at the heartstrings of the onlooking jury. Meanwhile, you’re on the edge of your seat, shoveling in the popcorn, suppressing the urge to make that trip to the bathroom.
Maybe you’ve thought about a career in law before. The field is vast, complicated, and to those within it, fascinating. In a world of gray areas, legal professionals help to provide answers to life’s most difficult questions.
You should know that you don’t need to be a grand storyteller—or even an extrovert—to excel in the field of law. Nor do you even have to be a lawyer. Behind most every lawyer, real or fictional, is a dedicated Paralegal. Often, there’s a whole team of them.
What is a Paralegal?
Paralegals are vital players in the justice system, helping attorneys to take on larger caseloads than would overwise be possible. Their main tasks are usually to investigate and gather case facts and draft formal legal documents. Attorneys that can distribute this important work among Paralegals are able to provide more value to their clients. One person can only do so much!
Other Paralegal duties may include:
- Conducting research on relevant laws to a case
- Gathering and prepare evidence for review by attorneys
- Writing reports that help prepare lawyers for trials
- Assisting lawyers during trials
But Paralegals don’t just work for attorneys in law offices. They may also perform similar work for government agencies, or even corporations. Depending on where you choose to work, your earning potential can be great. Paralegals can earn a median wage of $51,920, with the most experienced earning over $82,500.
What Kind of Person Makes a Good Paralegal?
1. Interested in Law
First and foremost, a Paralegal should show an interest in law. Reading and summarizing long legal documents is not for the faint of heart. But being interested in the outcome of the case you are working on can make this task a lot more interesting. If you’ve watched and enjoyed TV shows like Suits or Better Call Saul, take it as a sign that you might be more interested in law than the average person.
When you’re handling essential documents and scheduling important meetings, you’ll quickly realize that organization is key. Not only will it save you from misplacing important documents, but it can make your workflow smoother—easier. Do you keep a to-do list? Have a place for everything? Maintain your routines? These are excellent traits for a Paralegal.
3. Natural Researcher
Research skills will also set you apart as Paralegal. You’ll need a combination of problem-solving and technology prowess, because a big part of your career will be spent tracking down records and information relevant to cases. If you had little trouble finding the sources you needed to write essays in high school, you might be a natural born researcher.
4. Good Communicator
Depending on where they work, Paralegals can end up talking to a lot of people on a daily basis. Whether you’re interviewing clients or scheduling court appointments, you’ll often be the stand-in voice of your employer. That means it’s crucial to express yourself clearly and confidently in person, over the phone, and online.
Legal professionals are, by nature, presented with difficult problems regularly. When you run into an obstacle, do you push forward, or do you give up? Persistence is the ability to keep attacking a problem from different angles until you finally figure out a way to solve it. If you’re the type to keep pushing to find solutions that work, you’ll likely make a great Paralegal.
Becoming a Paralegal
You might be surprised to learn how quickly you can train to become a skilled Paralegal in Colorado. In as little as 19 months, you can complete a Paralegal Degree program at IBMC College, earning an Associate of Occupational Studies.
During the program, you’ll learn from expert instructors with career experience as legal professionals. You can expect instruction in the basics of law, plus hands-on training in the legal procedures that Paralegals perform on a daily basis. Notable courses include Criminal Law, Civil Procedure and Litigation, Wills, Trusts and Estates.
Take the first step toward your long, prestigious career as a Paralegal. Schedule a visit to IBMC College in Greeley, Colorado to speak with an Admissions Representative. They can help you make the final decision and see if you have what it takes to become a talented Paralegal.