Paralegal Bachelor's Degree Program
A bachelor's degree in paralegal studies can lead to a career assisting lawyers in a particular area of law. Learn about bachelor's degree programs that will prepare you for a career as a paralegal. Find out the typical job duties, employment outlook and education requirements. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Will I Learn During a Paralegal Bachelor's Degree Program?
A bachelor's degree program in paralegal studies can teach you about the legal system, common law practices, professional communication, writing and research techniques. Programs usually take 3-4 years to complete, but some schools offer 2-year programs that require you to already hold your associate's degree before applying. Classes you could take include the following:
- Real property law
- Legal writing
- Counseling and negotiation
- Legal administration
- Office procedures
- Wills and estates
- Employment law
- White-collar crime
|Common Courses||Office procedures, legal writing, wills and estates, white-collar crime, counseling and negotiation|
|Online Availability||Online programs are available, though internships may be required|
|Paralegal Duties||Maintaining legal forms, searching legal records, drafting legal pleadings, filing court documents, examining data and evidence|
|Job Outlook||8% increase between 2014-2024 (for paralegals and legal assistants)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How Can I Study Online?
There are a variety of online bachelor's degree programs available in paralegal studies and paralegal science. You'll participate in your classes through discussion boards, interactive exercises, quizzes and video lectures. You'll usually need a computer with a DVD-ROM drive, speakers, a microphone and a variety of software programs. Some programs might require you to attend a residency period on campus that spans about a week. You also might want to participate in an internship at a law office while taking your online classes.
What Will I Do as a Paralegal?
Paralegals assist lawyers by helping them prepare for cases, perform research, write case reports and organize briefings. As a paralegal, you could also prepare tax returns, set up trust funds or even help prepare legal arguments. Most paralegals work in law firms, and some specialize in a particular area of law, such as real estate law, employee compensation, corporate law, personal injury or bankruptcy. Your job duties could include the following:
- Maintaining legal forms
- Filing court documents
- Searching legal records
- Drafting legal pleadings
- Examining data and evidence
- Conducting research
- Handling legal correspondences
What Is the Job Market Like?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of paralegals and legal assistants was expected to increase 8% from 2014-2024; this figure was as fast as average (www.bls.gov). Growth in this industry was driven by the reduced cost provided by paralegals, who can perform many of the same services as lawyers. The BLS also reported that job prospects should be favorable as more paralegals leave the field.
Paralegals earned a median annual salary of $48,350 as of May 2014. Top-earning paralegals made upwards of $82,810 per year. Top-paying industries for paralegals were semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing, software publishers, professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing.
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