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 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average for all occupations. Becoming a paralegal typically requires an associate degree in paralegal studies.
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
- Personal injury law
- Real estate law
Join a Professional Organization
Consider joining a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies surrounding the paralegal profession. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in your industry will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview at your new location. 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. Some of the MSEP partners that may employ paralegals include the following:
A challenge to working in the legal profession is the varying requirements necessary to practice in different states. 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 Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now 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. Learn more.
To explore additional 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 obtaining 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.