What Can I Do with a Master's Degree in Paralegal Studies?
A master's degree in paralegal studies provides the knowledge and ability to work as a paralegal, also called a legal assistant. Read on to learn more about the education, required skills and job outlook for these professionals. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
A paralegal or legal assistant works closely with an attorney to prepare for closings, hearings, trials and corporate meetings. A paralegal must have a strong grasp of the law and any material that is relevant to an assigned case. He or she analyzes and organizes information and prepares written reports for attorneys to use in preparing a case.
Important Facts About Becoming a Paralegal
|Work Environment||Office setting and law libraries. Most work for law firms, in public government setting, or for businesses and corporations.|
|Key Skills||Be able to maintain and organize files, research current laws and previous cases, write up relevant documents, and be familiar with different technologies and computer software|
|Professional Certification||There is no mandatory certification exam for paralegals or legal assistants. Graduates can opt to get certified by the National Association of Legal Assistants, NALS, The American Alliance of Paralegals, and/or The National Federation of Paralegal Associations|
|Similar Occupations||Lawyers; Claims Adjusters and Examiners; Occupational Health and Safety Technicians|
Master's Degree in Paralegal Studies
Although a master's degree is not required to work as a paralegal, earning one in paralegal studies prepares students for careers that require a strong understanding of the law and how it interacts with societal institutions. A graduate holding a master's degree in paralegal studies has the skills to assess the law and legal systems and understands legal terminology.
Paralegals should be good at interacting with people, such as lawyers, witnesses and clients. They should also have good research and computer skills. Organization and planning are also important in this field.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median yearly salary in May of 2014 for a paralegal or a legal assistant was $48,350. The BLS also predicted that these professionals should see a 17% increase in employment opportunities, which is about as fast as average when compared to other careers, from 2012 to 2022 (www.bls.gov).
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