How to Find a Job as a Paralegal

Anybody seeking a career as a paralegal (or legal assistant) should begin their search as early as possible, inclusive of students looking for a suitable legal assistant college. You should first look at a web page kept by the US Department of Labor at for average legal assistant wages (broken down by location). If you are unfamiliar with the duties of a legal assistant, the Department of Labor provides further information, simply use the search box at the top of their page to facilitate searching.

Your next step in finding employment as a paralegal is to use the above information to determine where you would like to live and work (if you are open to relocation). You should then speak with the bar association in that area and ask them about possible employers, scholarship or grant possibilities, and possible internships. Armed with this information, you can speak with those employers to discover what their hiring requirements are. For example, will they need to have a four year Bachelors degree from an American Bar Association (ABA) approved program, will they accept a two year Associates degree from an accredited university or college, or will an eight month legal assistant certificate obtained online be sufficient to get you a position as a legal assistant? Are there presently any areas of expertise that are especially marketable in that area - family law, health care, immigration, bankruptcy, etc? You're letting the tail wag the dog if you graduate first, then look around to see who will accept that certificate or degree.

If you are researching which school is best for enrollment, ensure you pick a institution which meets the academic requirements outlined by those potential employers. Students should ask in regards to the university's job placement programs and find out how successful the institution has been in placing students in paralegal positions before enrolling in any institution. In other words, find out the proportion of their graduates that are actually employed in the law field (not those merely serving fries to lawyers). If you have already enrolled in a paralegal school or graduated from one, use your university's resources by conferring with your professors, vocational counselors, and any helpful alumni the school refers to you. You can enlarge your networking efforts still further by simply asking those liaisons for further liaisons to continue growing your network.

Note that you shouldn't merely look in the want ads or online to ascertain employers' academic requirements or any of their other employment criteria. However uncomfortable you may find it, the key is to talk to people. Keep networking among potential employers by inquiring about internships. If you are a new comer to the industry, you need practical experience to put on your job application, and you need potential employers to know what your work ethics are. Keeping your visibility high among potential employers will ease your efforts to discover a better paying paralegal job in a more enjoyable work place; you won't have to accept the first offer extended to you. You will know of openings before they are posted publicly, and they will know of your capabilities when the time comes to hire.

You can visit to discover more about schools and their degree and certificate options, and review some networking tips at if you are seeking a position as a legal assistant.

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