A paralegal is a person who is trained in legal matters but is not a lawyer. There was a time when they only worked as an assistant of a lawyer but today they have a lot more responsibilities and career opportunities. If you are thinking about becoming a paralegal, here is everything you should know to make an informed decision.
What Does a Paralegal Do?
Paralegals have a very good understanding of laws and legal matters. Most commonly, paralegals collect and analyze legal data for cases. They prepare legal documents and affidavits for the employer or clients. Paralegals are also expected to be able to draft real estate closing statement, contracts, and relevant important documents. As a paralegal, you have to manage the entire legal library of the office you work for.
Their work is not limited to just documents; paralegals also help lawyers in administrative tasks and provide the material to win a case. They even contact witnesses and create prosecution and defense strategies.
What are the Career Options for Paralegals?
Paralegals today can work in a law firm or even work independently. They can become a law clerk and work with judges or lawyers to help them prepare legal documents. Another career opportunity would be to become a Title examiner, abstractor, and searcher to either work in real estate, insurance, or a law firm. Furthermore, you can also find opportunities as a health and safety specialist or claim examiner and investigator.
- Examiner, Adjuster, and Investigator of Claims
- Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers
- Law Clerk
- Health and Safety Technician
Is It Difficult to Find a Job?
The job of paralegal first appeared in 1970 as a legal assistant. Since then, this profession has seen explosive growth in its skills and demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for paralegals is expected to increase 15 percent by 2026. Paralegals can be hired at less rate compared to an attorney; it’s one of the reasons people want paralegals. If nothing else, paralegals can also work independently and earn a good living.
How Much Do They Earn?
Paralegals don’t earn as much as an experienced lawyer, but they don’t make less either. Your skills are the most important factor in your earnings. If you are good at what you do, then you will make a lot more. Some paralegals are even paid higher than the lawyers. According to Neuvoo, a fresh paralegal in Ontario earns about $34,198 while an experienced earns up to $85,000 per year. This is more than an engineer.
How to Become a Paralegal?
It is important to get licensure through Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) if you want to practice law as an independent paralegal without the supervision of a lawyer. You can act as a legal agent and represent clients when you have a license. In order to become licensed paralegal, you have to do the following.
- Complete a paralegal education program. Cestar College offers the best-accredited paralegal classes Toronto, Ontario. You can visit the link for more information about the program.
- Next, you have to submit a statement of good character and pay a registration fee.
- At last, you have to participate and pass an exam called “Paralegal Licensing Exam”.