A career as a paralegal or legal assistant could be right for you, if you:
- Are comfortable in a highly structured environment
- Are precise and pay attention to details
- Enjoy research and paperwork
- Have excellent written and oral communications skills
- Have strong computer skills
- Wish to continually expand your capabilities
- Work well alone or as part of a team
- Handle on-the-job pressure
- Are inquisitive and like to find answers to questions
Unauthorized Practice of Law
The duties of a legal assistant/paralegal include assisting the lawyer with research, brief preparation, and other legal office administration, but do not include practicing law, advising clients, or setting fees since paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
Legal Studies Career Paths
Opportunities for paralegal work exist in all areas of law, including family law, bankruptcy, employee benefits, personal injury, litigation, copyrighting, criminal law, labor law, immigration, and real estate. While seven out of ten paralegals work for law firms, many others are employed by the government or corporate legal departments.
All paralegals assist lawyers with the creation of legal documents and conduct research on laws, court cases and contracts, but some duties will vary depending on the employer. Those entering this field with little or no prior experience will typically perform routine tasks, taking on the additional responsibility of more varied tasks after gaining the appropriate experience.
Graduates of this program will also be eligible to work as a legal assistant or paralegal. The duties of a legal assistant/paralegal include assisting the lawyer with research, brief preparation, and other legal office administration, but do not include practicing law, advising clients, or setting fees since paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
- Private sector paralegals - Legal assistants working for law firms or corporations often assists on such topics as employee benefits plans, shareholder agreements, financial reporting, and government labor regulations.
- Public sector paralegals - Duties for legal assistants working for government agencies depend on the specific focus of that agency. Those employed at the community level may assist with projects that help people who otherwise could not afford legal services. If working in litigation, the paralegal may assist with file maintenance, policy research, the preparation of explanatory documents about regulations and policy relating to that agency, and compiling data for agency hearings.
- Freelance paralegals - In some states, paralegals are able to freelance for lawyers, law firms or legal departments. They may work in a specialty area of the law or provide general assistance on exceptionally large or short-deadline projects.
Discover how much paralegals make and compare across each US state, or learn more about what jobs you can potentially get with a legal studies degree.
Legal assistants are typically employed in an office setting and spend their time on the computer or in a legal library. Legal assistants may work part or full-time depending on the employer’s needs. Full-time employees typically receive a comprehensive benefits package including health care and retirement savings plan(s). A 40-hour work week is standard for most full-time paralegals however those employed by law firms may be required to work additional hours to meet court deadlines. Legal assistants may need to take precautions against eye strain and carpal tunnel, symptoms which occur more often for workers spending many hours at a computer.
Professionals in the paralegal field advance by taking on greater responsibility; this includes a greater diversification of duties, tasks that prove critical to case work or deadlines, and supervising other department personnel. Upon completing an associate degree in paralegal/legal assisting, experience is the largest factor in advancement; however, obtaining a bachelor degree will help most paralegals advance at a faster pace and earn a higher income. Certifications are also available for paralegals who wish to maximize promotional and employment opportunities.
Legal Assisting and Paralegal — Career Outlook
Legal assistants and paralegals are taking over many duties once performed by lawyers. This saves an employer money and increases demand for qualified legal assistants.
Legal Studies Degree Programs
Showing 2 programs for the Online campus
This program is designed to provide in-depth understanding of the legal system as it relates to the law, the courts, clients, and lawyers. The core curriculum provides a solid foundation of legal, ethical, technical, and communication skills. Students will be prepared for entry-level or management training positions in office administration or other business enterprises requiring a legal studies background.
The program prepares students with the skills and academic knowledge necessary for a career as a legal assistant/paralegal working under the supervision of a licensed attorney. The American Bar Association defines a paralegal as "a person qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, government agency, or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." These career opportunities may be in small or large firms working as a legal assistant/paralegal. The duties of a legal assistant/paralegal include assisting the lawyer with research, brief preparation, and other legal office administration. Duties do not include practicing law, advising clients, or setting fees since paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.
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Accreditation & Disclosures
1. Atlanta/New Orleans Only – Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies – A minimum of 27 semester credit hours in legal specialty credits (PL) must be taken in residence.
2. The Associate of Science in Legal Assisting/Paralegal and the Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies programs at Herzing University - Atlanta are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60654-7598, 800-285-2221, www.americanbar.org).
Only the Herzing University legal studies program in Atlanta is approved by the American Bar Association.
3. The Herzing University Legal Studies programs offered in New Orleans and Online are not approved by the ABA.
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
I learned a lot while I was a student at Herzing. My office management classes were extremely helpful, especially since I now work for an attorney that mostly works in family law. Hands down, my internship was the most important part of my journey. It allowed me to show what I knew and learned in my field while providing new experiences along the way.
Legal Studies Program