Being a paralegal is a stable career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), its demand could grow by up to 12% from 2018 to 2028. That’s faster than other jobs.
If you’re not pursuing it yet, it could be because you’re stuck believing the myths. Let’s clear some of them with this list:
1. Anyone Can Be a Paralegal
This is a myth for the simple reason it takes some education and even experiences to be a paralegal. Some law firms or attorneys accept someone with an associate degree. More popular ones need a paralegal with a bachelor’s degree. It can be any course, but they prefer someone with law units.
If you want to pursue this profession, you can supplement your knowledge or education with a paralegal online degree. You can earn such a degree from a partner university in your state. You might need to attend some live lectures, but you can complete some coursework online.
This arrangement allows you to be flexible, so you can study at your own pace and keep your job while completing the certificate course.
2. Paralegals Don’t Make Good Money
Paralegals can earn decent money. According to PayScale, the average salary is almost $50,000. They also earn through profit-sharing, commissions, and bonuses.
The more experienced ones can earn as much as $70,000. These are individuals who have been on the field for at least five years. Overall, the pay can vary widely depending on factors such as experience and state.
3. Paralegals Can Represent Clients in Courts
No, they cannot. They also cannot bill the client, close deals on behalf of the law firm, or provide legal advice. These are already considered as the practice of law. Only attorneys can perform these functions.
What paralegals do is provide support to the law firm and their lawyers. These can include:
- Investigating or researching legal matters
- Helping attorneys prepare court documents and evidence
- Assisting in the depositions of witnesses, defendants, and respondents
- Performing administrative tasks such as taking calls on behalf of the attorneys
- Interviewing clients
4. Paralegal Is a Stressful Job
First of all, working is stressful. Some jobs, though, can be more stressful than others. Paralegal, in general, isn’t one of them. Unless attorneys deal with significant or complex cases, paralegals work the regular 9-5 job. They render around 37 to 40 hours a week.
Paralegals, especially new ones, can be under the guidance of attorneys. But often, they are independent workers.
5. Paralegals Are Also Legal Assistants
A lot of people use the terms “paralegals” and “legal assistants” interchangeably. In reality, they can mean the same thing. In 2004, though, the National Association of Legal Assistants decided to distinguish the terms. Paralegals, for them, can refer to those who passed their certification exam.
If you have a passion for the law but are not ready to be a lawyer yet, being a paralegal is an excellent route to follow. You can pursue it better, though, if you know what to expect and some facts about the job.