About the Paralegal Profession
Private law firms continue to be the largest employer of legal assistants, but opportunities also are available in corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real estate and title firms, banks and government agencies.
Paralegals must work under the direct supervision of an attorney.
What is a paralegal?
A paralegal, or legal assistant, is a person who works under the supervision of an attorney and assists in the delivery of legal services. Although they may not give legal advice or represent a client in court, they perform legal tasks, including:
- Drafting, summarizing and interpreting a variety of legal documents.
- Analyzing, compiling and using information from factual, technical and legal sources.
- Conducting client and witness interviews and investigations.
- Handling office administration tasks.
Where do paralegals work?
Most paralegals are employed by law firms and work in four major areas: litigation, corporate, probate and real estate. Other employers include banks, insurance companies, government offices and corporate law departments.
What are some of the characteristics of a successful paralegal?
A person who possesses these skills and characteristics should be successful as a paralegal:
- Oral and written communication skills
- Analytical skills
- People skills
- Computer skills
What is the level of job satisfaction in the paralegal profession?
According to recent statistics, job satisfaction in the paralegal profession is remarkable. More than 85 percent of legal assistants rank their job satisfaction as medium, high or very high.
How much education should a person have in order to enter the paralegal profession?
A person with a baccalaureate degree and a certificate from the Johnson County Community College paralegal program is very competitive in the marketplace. As the number of people applying for paralegal positions increases, a person with a four-year college degree who is also a graduate of an American Bar Association-approved program could have an advantage over other potential job applicants.