How to Get a Job as an Paralegal in 2020

Paralegals are to lawyers as foundations are to homes. Without a good one, legal teams are totally sunk. Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, go above and beyond to support lawyers by conducting research on cases and laws, managing cases, organizing and drafting legal documents, and helping legal teams prepare for trial. The most successful paralegals have high attention to detail and are excellent communicators.  Download JobFlare today and prove to employers that you’ve got the skills it takes to succeed!

A paralegal’s day-to-day activities depend largely on who you are supporting. If you’re supporting a legal team within a law firm, you might spend your days meeting people and collecting information for a class-action lawsuit. If you’re supporting a small non-profit, you could spend your days pouring over legal documents and researching other related cases.

Since no company likes being vulnerable to legal onslaught, the need for paralegals spans nearly all industries. You can find work as a paralegal in hospitals, immigration offices, real estate, in the entertainment business (like Disney or Warner Bros), government agencies, hedge funds, law firms, nonprofits, and privately-owned companies. Such expansive opportunity means that you have ample space to specialize in whatever interests you the most.

Becoming a paralegal can be a solid first step on the road to becoming a full-fledged lawyer. Not only is experience working in a law firm invaluable for the law school admissions process, but it’s also a way to see first-hand if working as a lawyer is something you would enjoy.

Paralegal

US Median Salary
$49,500/year or $23.80/hour

Education Requirements

Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies
Paralegal Certificate Often Preferred
Some schools offer bachelor’s or master’s degrees as well, but these programs aren’t nearly as common as associate’s degrees or certificate programs and certainly aren’t necessary to obtain an entry-level paralegal job.

Robot Risk Rating
Automation Risk Robot
94%

HIGH AUTOMATION RISK

You'd be great for this position if...

– You’re detail-oriented
– You love research and digging for information
– You’re highly organized
– You enjoy working with a team
– You’re tenacious
– You’re patient with others

Robot Risk Rating
Automation Risk Robot
94%

HIGH AUTOMATION RISK

You'd be great for this position if...

– You’re detail-oriented
– You love research and digging for information
– You’re highly organized
– You enjoy working with a team
– You’re tenacious
– You’re patient with others

Resume Tips for Paralegals

To have a successful career as a paralegal, there are certain skills that hiring managers know to look for. Take inventory of these important qualities and emphasize them in your resume:

  • Exceptional Communication Skills
  • Strong Writing Ability
  • Excellent Time Management Skills
  • Computer and Internet Skills
  • Polished Research Skills
  • A Knack for Learning Quickly
  • Ability to Analyze Information from Several Sources
  • Critical and Creative Thinking

If you don’t have much on-the-job experience, include things like…

  • Successful research projects you’ve conducted (include results and findings you were able to make)
  • Any past experience as an assistant or secretary
  • Volunteer work (especially in local government or a nonprofit like Legal Aid or the ACLU)
  • Involvement in your local paralegal association
  • Any past experience working at a law firm (in any capacity, even working in the mail room!)
  • Certificates from Microsoft Office classes (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

If you’re still feeling stuck on what skills to list in your resume, check the job description! Hiring managers list the key qualities they’re looking for, so you can score serious points for including them.

Interview Pointers for Paralegals

Prior to your interview, be sure to think of examples of personal experience applicable to the role:

  • Provide an example of a time when you took initiative and how it paid off.
  • Describe your approach to researching information to solve a problem.
  • Offer an example of a time you created an organization system and discuss its impact on your productivity.
  • Talk about your techniques for coping with tight deadlines and how you’ve resolved stressful situations in the past.

Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • What makes a successful paralegal?
  • How do you use technology to improve the quality of your work?
  • How would you handle a stressed-out over-worked attorney who is about to go to trial?

Trouble finding Paralegal jobs to apply for? Try searching for these jobs as well!

Legal Assistant • Law Clerk • Court Reporter • Contracts Administrator • Nurse Paralegal • Legal Secretary • Paralegal Specialist

Famous Former Paralegals
Ellen DeGeneres Famous Former Paralegal
Ellen DeGeneres
Talk Show Host / Actress / Comedian
Abraham Lincoln Famous Former Paralegal
Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States

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