6 Places You Can Work as a Paralegal
Going into college, most Paralegal students have no idea where they’d like to work—and that’s normal. Training to become a Paralegal offers students the chance to explore legal work in many fields, and it prepares them to meet the challenges of each.
There are dozens of unique fields of law—from healthcare to real estate and technology—and skilled Paralegals are needed in all of them. While most Paralegals are found in law firms, one with a chosen specialization will have greater ability to select a different work environment. It’s all starts with figuring out what you’re interested in.
What Does a Paralegal do?
A Paralegal’s main job is to assist lawyers with all matters of legal work. Usually, their days include conducting legal research, communicating with clients and drafting legal documents. It’s a prestigious, rewarding career for diligent people with keen attention to detail.
As more corporations move to hiring in-house legal departments, the career is expected to grow rapidly—15% through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Where Can a Paralegal Work?
1. Law Firms
Let’s start with the obvious one: Most Paralegals work in private law firms. They work under attorneys to investigate facts and laws related to cases, write reports, compile legal documents and interview witnesses to gather evidence. The work is fast-paced and deadlines are sharp, but private law firms often offer some of the most exciting legal work you can find as a Paralegal.
For Paralegals considering law school, the courts are a great place to start. You may find a position working for a judge, helping with legal research and potentially even assisting with drafting decisions. You could also work for a public defender’s office, helping to put together cases for clients who are accused of breaking the law. You’ll need excellent communication skills to work effectively with judges, lawyers, clerks, clients and law enforcement on a daily basis.
Paralegals are needed in all government agencies, from the federal to state and local levels. But government Paralegal work is not the same in every agency. Because there are so many government entities with specialized goals, you’ll need to have a solid working understanding of how the law works in your area of specialization. From insurance regulations to healthcare or housing law, you will likely focus on just a few topics, but you’ll need to know them well.
As a corporate Paralegal, you’ll likely be involved with every sector of your company. Corporate paralegals need to know the laws and regulations that apply to incorporation, boards of directors, contracts, product licensing, taxes and human resources. It’s a demanding position, but it allows for more variety in work—and often more upward mobility—than a private law firm. If you’re comfortable juggling a variety of projects, this might be the Paralegal career for you.
5. Real Estate
The home buying and selling process is complicated, and the rules vary greatly from one region to another. That’s why real estate companies hire Paralegals to help ensure the process is smooth and contracts are air-tight. A real estate Paralegal will need to know the property laws and restrictions of a given area and apply that knowledge to researching property titles, preparing contracts for home purchases and writing mortgage agreements.
NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are the perfect place for Paralegals with strong opinions on the environment, education, social issues or other causes. NGO Paralegals work to advance the organization’s specific goals, like helping the poor with housing or assisting immigrants with legal representation. These organizations are usually non-profit and rely on donations and government grants for funding. Working for one can be a highly-rewarding experience, but the pay is often less than for-profit companies.
Become a Paralegal
Curious, organized people with good communication skills should consider the Paralegal profession. It can be a rewarding lifelong career, or an excellent stepping stone for those with aspirations to become an attorney.
IBMC College’s 19-month Paralegal Degree program at the Greeley, CO campus will provide you with the skills to confidently research, interpret and communicate law; Your hands-on training will cover a wide variety of legal topics taught by industry professionals with years of legal experience.Don’t wait to start your journey toward a fulfilling career as a Paralegal professional. Stop by for a no-pressure campus tour, or call 800-495-2669 to learn more about about the Paralegal Degree program today.