Paralegal Career Guidance

Paralegal Career Guidance

Within the paralegal resources page you can find more information about educational opportunities and paralegal careers.

The paralegal profession can trace its roots back to the late 1960s. Until the creation of the paralegal, only members of the state bar association were allowed to perform legal services. People looking to save money on routine tasks investigated the possibility of performing such work themselves, and soon, entrepreneurs began offering legal services. At this time in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the first independent paralegal companies were formed. As the profession grew, law firms began to hire paralegals directly, and today, they are an invaluable part of the legal field.

Paralegals work closely with lawyers in tasks such as trial/hearing and closing preparation. They investigate facts that pertain to cases and perform significant legal research. They also prepare legal arguments and draft contracts, pleadings, mortgages, trusts, and separation agreements.

In 2002, more than 200,000 paralegals worked in the United States, 70% of whom worked for private law firms. Other paralegals were employed by corporate legal departments, and government entities, such as the Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, and the Social Security Administration. Paralegals enjoyed a median salary of $37,950 in 2002 and can look forward to faster than average employment growth through 2012.

There are more than 600 paralegal programs in the United States offering all levels of training from certificates to master's degrees. Approximately 250 of them are approved by the American Bar Association. The listings here at can help the budding legal assistant navigate the selection process.

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