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Five Questions to Ask Before Preparing to Become a Paralegal

May 11, 2012 General 0 Comments

Paralegal TypingMany people pursue career opportunities in the paralegal field because they’re looking for a fast-paced work environment that exercises their communication and analytical skills. If the paralegal position seems like something you might be interested in, check out these five questions you should ask yourself before preparing to become a paralegal.

Does the paralegal position suit your strengths?

Paralegals usually assist lawyers and help manage the office work flow. This involves filing and record-keeping, writing reports, researching case information, planning and coordinating events, and more. To tackle a wide range of responsibilities, paralegals should have the followings skills:

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Planning
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Analysis and critical thinking

Do you understand your training options?

Paralegals usually get legal training by pursuing an Associate degree in paralegal studies. In the past, it was common for paralegals to be trained once they were hired, but now it’s more typical for paralegals to get formal training or certification. If you get a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can still become a paralegal by achieving additional certification. The skills and knowledge you develop in English, political science, communication, environmental studies, and healthcare degree programs may prepare you for the nature of paralegal work.

Are you determined to get the training and experience you need to compete in the job market?

The best way to get an edge in the professional world is to go above in beyond in your paralegal training. Although employers may offer training on the job, you have a much better shot of finding a position if you have formal training.

Seek internship opportunities and volunteer experiences during your schooling to make yourself more marketable. You should also consider getting official certification by taking the exams offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants.

Are you prepared to work long hours?

Most paralegals work a normal 40-hour work week, but often their job requires them to work late. Working long hours is common at law firms when the attorneys and staff need to meet deadlines for their clients.

Are you looking for career advancement opportunities?

Moving up from the paralegal position requires a lot of experience and diligence. Professionals who have superior skills and work ethics may gain greater responsibilities, such as the management of other paralegals. But paralegals don’t face a clear, single path if they’re looking for future promotion opportunities. Some paralegals may be promoted within the law firm or office where they work, or they may be able to find a higher position at another place of employment. Working as a paralegal can also help you figure out whether you’d like to go to law school to become a full-fledged attorney.

This article is presented by Briarcliffe College. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from Briarcliffe College.

Briarcliffe College cannot guarantee employment or salary. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Briarcliffe does not guarantee third-party certifications. Certification requirements for taking and passing certification examinations are not controlled by Briarcliffe but by outside agencies and are subject to change by the agencies without notice to Briarcliffe. Therefore, Briarcliffe cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take certification examinations, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.


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