Jan 082013
 

Paralegal Job Outlook

Paralegal Studies diplomas and degrees prepare students for careers working as a paralegal. Paralegals assist lawyers in a number of tasks, including but not limited to helping lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials, corporate meetings and other engagements.

Paralegals investigate the facts of cases, prepare written reports, and do many of the things lawyers do, and as such must have a firm knowledge base in the law and legal studies.

The Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 71% of paralegals are employed by law firms, with the rest spread out in corporate legal departments, working for the courts, and being employed by governmental organizations. Competition for jobs will be high as many people enter the profession, but the prospects are good for experienced paralegals and aspiring paralegals alike.

Employment opportunities for paralegals and related occupations (legal secretaries, legal assistants) are projected to grow by 28% in the next ten years, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. As employers seek to reduce costs, companies hire paralegals to perform many of the tasks that lawyers once performed. As paralegals perform more and varied duties, they are becoming more useful to businesses.

Particular growth areas in the legal services field include:

  • Intellectual property
  • Healthcare
  • International law
  • Elder issues
  • Criminal law
  • Environmental law

In addition, paralegals tend to perform better in times of economic distress than lawyers, when discretionary legal spending goes down.

Getting Started

If you are interested in a paralegal career or are already employed in the field but seeking advancement, take a look at the online distance learning programs offered by Abraham Lincoln University. Programs begin each Monday in eight-week sessions and diploma, associate, and bachelor’s degree levels are all available. Learn more here.

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