Have you thought about changing your career to something more focused? With a background in office management or administrative support, you may be a perfect candidate to transition into the paralegal profession. A paralegal is not a lawyer, yet most of the work they do is in support of lawyers in law firms to help expedite cases, prepare, and talk with clients. But how do you become a paralegal? Here’s how.
As with many professional endeavors, you will need to obtain an educational level to become a paralegal. There are both bachelor’s and associate’s level degrees that are approved by the American Bar Association. Some business schools may also have programs. On the job training is also a possibility for most professionals who want to become paralegals.
The job of a paralegal is meant to support the legal staff within a law firm or corporate environment. To do that, you must bring a fair number of skills to the table. Many might list multitasking, but prioritization is a much more important skill. It’s not imperative that you do more than one thing at a time, but that you understand how to prioritize tasks. Communication, both in-person and in writing, is imperative. Other skills include research, technology, and teamwork.
You may think that the only jobs you can get as a paralegal are through a law firm, but there are many avenues to pursue. Other options include:
- Real estate
- Public defender
- NGOs or non-profits
It’s helpful to do some research on these career options before you decide how you want to pattern your own paralegal job.
If you are looking for your next paralegal job, you may want to contact a recruiter or staffing agency that specializes in legal job placements. It’s a competitive industry, so having an expert in your corner to help you put your best foot forward can give you an advantage over your competition. They can help you find jobs that aren’t listed publicly and work with you throughout your career.