The Ultimate Paralegal: An Introduction To A 21st Century Career
This book is a nuts and bolts introduction to a versatile and interesting 21st Century career field. Paralegals are legal professionals who are fully integrated into the practice of law. This is a career field that welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds because all such people are needed for the many diverse areas of
This book is a nuts and bolts introduction to a versatile and interesting 21st Century career field. Paralegals are legal professionals who are fully integrated into the practice of law. This is a career field that welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds because all such people are needed for the many diverse areas of law. This book introduces the reader to the paralegal career field and the fundamentals that one should know about the law. There are paralegals in many countries. However, the focus of this book with respect to both the law and the paralegal career field is the United States. I have educated and trained many paralegals over the last thirty years and that includes those who have pursued their careers in many states. There are four general sectors of paralegal employment. First, there is the government sector. There are numerous paralegal jobs in federal, state and local governments. The federal government and state governments employ paralegals in their court systems and their many government agencies. Local governments employ paralegals in county attorneys’ offices, district attorneys’ offices and city attorneys’ offices. Common features associated with this sector of paralegal employment are structured hours, solid retirement and benefit plans and educational benefits. Please note that this sector does not describe all paralegal jobs with the word “paralegal”, so a paralegal job applicant should look at the job descriptions for the following government job titles: court clerk (do not let this term confuse you – it is an important skilled job), docket clerk, court administrator, court coordinator, court liason officer, investigator, compliance officer, and case manager. Who Can Become A Paralegal? Since the paralegal career field is very broad it needs many different types of people. There are some people who enter a paralegal education program right out of high school. If they are literate and motivated, and complete a good paralegal educational program, as they gain experience in the work place more and more opportunities will come. Some people decide to become paralegals after they have attended some college because they want their education to lead directly to an established career path. Others make such a decision after they have obtained a college degree. There many college degree programs that do not lead to employment beyond teaching. And, as we all know, not everyone is meant to be a teacher. One reality of the 21st Century is that education has become expensive and many people have to borrow to pay for their education. As a result, more people are seeking education that leads to more career opportunities. Do not despair if you have a degree that provides only limited employment opportunities, because your career as a paralegal awaits you. Most of the time, a college graduate can obtain the necessary education to become a paralegal in less time than someone who does not have a college degree. Further, there are some employers who prefer that their paralegals have a college degree. One feature of the 21st Century is that more and more people are changing careers. There are variety of reasons offered as to why this is occurring, including (1) instability with respect to their existing career; (2) “burnout”; (3) the desire to move into a career that is more enjoyable or meaningful and so on and so forth. What makes the paralegal career field attractive to this particular group is that their previous career skills are to varying degrees transferable and hence provide greater choices and opportunities to them as paralegals. Consider some examples: nurses (healthcare law and personal injury law); police officers, prison guards and probation officers (criminal law); engineers (intellectual property); real estate agents (real estate law); oilfield workers (oil and gas law); construction workers (construction law, labor law and personal injury law).
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