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Paralegal Profession

If you have an interest in law and government, enjoy researching information and have a keen eye for details, a career as a paralegal or legal assistant might be a great fit for you. Learn more about the paralegal profession and how you can get started.

Job prospects for paralegals and legal assistants are very positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation is expected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average for all occupations. You will typically need an associate degree in paralegal studies to become a paralegal.

Learn about the job

As a paralegal or legal assistant, you will have a wide range of responsibilities, including the following:

  • Assist licensed attorneys with research.
  • Organize information and prepare arguments.
  • Write reports summarizing cases.
  • Reference past cases and decisions.
  • Develop articles and precedents.
  • Draft contracts and other agreements.

You can also specialize in areas such as the following:

  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Business law
  • Contract law
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Health care
  • Immigration
  • Personal injury law
  • Real estate law

Join a professional organization

Consider joining a professional organization to better understand current industry practices and policies surrounding the paralegal profession. Network with other professionals in your industry to find the connections you need to get an interview at your new location.

They may provide important information about the paralegal field, such as new technology, continuing education and finding a job. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.

Finding a job

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a targeted recruitment and employment solution for spouses and hundreds of partner companies and organizations, connects military spouses to available job openings and may be a great starting point for finding employment as a paralegal.

Overcoming challenges

Varying requirements in different states can be a challenge for military spouses working in the legal profession. While these restrictions have more of an impact on lawyers, paralegals with specialty certifications can also be affected. The Military Spouse JD Network is an international network of legal professionals who advocate for licensing accommodations for military spouses, provide education about the challenges facing military families, encourage the hiring of military spouses and provide a support network.

You can also visit the Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your state.

If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $1,000. Each service has its own procedures for reimbursement, so be sure you know what your branch requires.

To find more information related to starting your career as a paralegal, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. You can also visit the Advantages of Licensure article in the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO for information on getting the proper license or certification as part of your portfolio to practice in your state. You can also speak with a career coach at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

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