If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the legal field but are unsure of where to start, becoming a paralegal may be the perfect path for you! Paralegals are a valuable asset to legal teams and assist attorneys with a variety of responsibilities. While they cannot carry out all the same tasks as lawyers, they support their team and subsequently their clients by applying their expansive expertise to every case. Now is an ideal time to join this rewarding career, as the job outlook for paralegals is expected to grow by 14% in the next decade, much faster than the average profession.
Just as lawyers have varying specialties of practice, paralegals have the opportunity to excel in a wide range of different sectors of expertise. Defining your specialty can maximize your quality of work and overall job satisfaction, a recipe for a long and successful career. To ensure you take the best path for you, take note of some of the most common paralegal specialties.
Paralegals who specialize in criminal defense are responsible for assisting lawyers who represent people accused of criminal activity. Some of the main responsibilities include collecting evidence, investigating laws and spearheading client communication. What separates criminal defense paralegals from other specialties are their contributions to the development of criminal cases. They must have a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system to support their client and team. The work you do as a paralegal can have an immense impact on the outcome of influential cases.
Those who work as a paralegal in family law work closely with both adults and children to provide support and solutions while tending to focus on relationships and often intense conflict. Family law paralegals must have great interpersonal communication skills and be able to handle clients who may be worried, angry, or distressed because the practice of family law frequently involves emotionally charged matters such as child custody, child support, and the division of assets. You have the responsibility to be an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
As a personal injury paralegal, you’ll handle claims for accidents or injuries inflicted by third parties by providing secretarial assistance, supporting attorneys, and court preparation. A unique aspect of this career comes from the intersection of medical and legal expertise. Successful personal injury paralegals are familiar with litigation, possess strong organizational skills, and are proficient in medical terminology. This is an opportunity to be a major difference-maker in the treatment of people who have been hurt.
Paralegals who work in tax law may often be hired as consultants in tax disputes. Their thorough understanding of federal tax codes allows them to support businesses and individuals with financial disputes. Having a numbers-centric mindset will serve you well in this position, as you’ll be responsible for advising tax attorneys on monetary matters. This is an exciting career for those who enjoy a combination of both legal studies and number crunching.
Regardless of which specialization you choose, a career as a paralegal is both exciting and rewarding. Discover the world of possibilities that is available to you and join a team that will help you to make a difference in the lives of others.
If you’re not currently enrolled in a paralegal program, now is the perfect time to get started. Herzing University offers a comprehensive legal assistant program to help you jumpstart an illustrious career doing what you love.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.