Paralegals who are sometimes called legal assistants work in the field of law assisting attorneys. They help attorneys prepare legal documents get ready for trials and schedule witnesses for depositions. In addition an important part of their job is conducting research often searching legal journals for precedent that is based on past cases and then preparing case notes and reports for the attorney. The specific nature of the tasks they perform depends on the agency or type of lawyer or law firm for whom they work. For example those working for real estate lawyers will likely be responsible for different tasks and specialized knowledge than will those working for corporate or personal injury lawyers or those employed by the federal government or state governments. In general paralegals do much of the work that full-fledged lawyers do. However they are not allowed to give legal advice nor are they permitted to argue cases in court. Nowadays employers expect paralegals to be familiar with computers and with how to use online databases because they must be able to search the internet for information on legal cases. Depending upon where they work paralegals can be under extreme pressure to meet deadlines and especially with important high-profile cases they may have to work overtime to make sure all documents are in order. Paralegals have associate’s degrees from community colleges usually in paralegal studies. However some paralegals have bachelor’s degrees and then get training to become certified as paralegals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paralegals earn average annual salaries of approximately $54000. However once they have experience and have developed their skills paralegals can earn considerably more.

Education Required: Associate's Degree
Avg Salary: $54000
High Salary: $64000
Low Salary: $44000
Tasks: Assists lawyers in preparing for trials.
Completes legal office work.
Prepares legal documents.
Tracks legal files.
Also Called: Legal Assistant
Law Office Administrator
Legal Secretary
Legal Administrator
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