Working in the law doesn’t mean you have to go to law school. Whether you want to in the future and aren’t ready yet or your goal is to work in a legal support capacity, becoming a paralegal is a great way to get experience in the field. It can give you insight before you commit to law school or can become a long-term career option. Here are a few of the reasons you should explore a future as a paralegal.
While the average salary for paralegals varies from state to state, the role has an excellent pay rate overall. The national average for paralegals is around $55,000 annually. This number can also be impacted by the specific industry or the size of the firm where you work. In the DC area, you can expect to make closer to $80,000 a year depending on your experience.
As long as there are law firms, there will always be a need for paralegals. In the DC area alone, including Maryland and Virginia, opportunities from small independent law firms to large corporations will be available. Having a background as a paralegal and experience in various specializations will mean that you will always be in demand when looking for a new position.
Not only is the industry growing, but being a paralegal also gives you access to specific job growth. Depending on your experience, you may start at entry-level, but legal employers will generally invest in your continued education. Some paralegals use their experience as a springboard to go to law school and obtain a Juris Doctor. There are also non-JD programs at many law schools to achieve a deeper understanding of the law.
One reason paralegal jobs are so attractive is access to experience. The education and certification requirements are obtainable. Rather than 3 years of law school that could require significant student loans, becoming a paralegal involves a certification course, many of which can be taken online. Some paralegals also get bachelor’s degrees in legal studies, but not doing that is not a barrier in the industry.
Interests and Specializations
An often overlooked benefit of becoming a paralegal is focusing on specific interests or areas of the law. Law is a diverse industry, and there are so many specializations. Firms can specialize in family law, property or real estate law, criminal law, tax law, environmental law, and more. The options are limitless, which means they’re also limitless for paralegals.
Are You Looking For Paralegal Positions in DC?
Contact the team at NRI Legal Staffing today, and one of our recruiters can match you with a top employer in your field.