Top Careers with a Degree in Paralegal Studies

 09 - 19 - 12
Uncategorized News

If you are interested in law, but don’t want to undertake a law degree (at least not yet), then a career as a paralegal might be for you. With low access barriers, high salaries, and increasing demand, there is a lot to recommend this field to people searching for a career. A job as a paralegal has a large number of advantages. This includes the good pay as well as the wealth of opportunities for people just out of school. While a paralegal needs to be smart and knowledgeable about the legal system, they don’t need to pass the bar or get an advanced degree. Even a two year associate’s degree can be enough in some cases. Despite this, the average salary for paralegals hovers right around $50,000 annually, and can be much higher. That’s pretty good by any standard.

There is a catch, however. A paralegal needs to possess a special skill set that includes great personal skills, attention to detail, and the ability to think under stress. Most lawyers are looking for an experienced individual who has already proved themselves. For this reason, it can be difficult for young paralegals just out of school to get into that law office job they had been imagining. The good news is that there are literally dozens of other jobs that are more accessible. These careers can be rewarding in themselves, or they can be useful stepping stones on the career path as you develop a more complete resume.

The fact is that there are many careers that require the skill set that a paralegal has developed. Because a legal assistant has learned how to organize diverse information, deal with clients, relate messages to management, seek creative solutions, and do research, the applications are quite broad. Let’s take a look at some of the jobs that are commonly available for paralegals:

Administrative Assistant

This might be a good place for anyone searching for a toe hold. While a lawyer might see a young paralegal as under qualified, a small business owner or office manager might see the same person as a highly qualified asset. Job responsibilities will include learning corporate systems and stream-lining them, finding good office operating procedures, and interacting with internal staff as well as clients, billing agents, and collaborating companies. This is a broad field, and so salary expectations will vary.

Claims Adjuster

In this role, an individual is expected to verify the validity of insurance claims and determine the amount of the benefit that a claimant is entitled to. This job requires an intriguing mix of investigative skills, attention to detail, legal knowledge, and a human touch. It also includes a lot of inspection trips out of the office. Pay is still quite good, on average, and there is usually a strong demand for qualified applicants.

Evidence technician

Just like on TV. Someone in this role is responsible for receiving, logging, and the control of physical evidence from a crime scene. They will be responsible for careful record keeping, communicating with a state crime lab or other external agency, and working closely with the police department. They should have an ability to deduce conclusions and otherwise assist with regular police work. Salaries may be lower than in some other fields, but the work will most likely be very stimulating.
Other careers available with a degree in paralegal studies include: mortgage processor, grant writer, probation officer, billing professional, and law librarian. A paralegal can take comfort in the fact that they possess a very desirable skill set. Not only will they be able to command impressive salaries, but they also have great freedom to choose their own career path.

Guest Post by Joshua Termer
Joshua Termer is a blogger that writes about the study of law and the benefits of law degrees. This article was written specifically about the careers available with a paralegal degree. Check out GW’s College of Professional Studies online programs.

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