In an increasingly global economy, like the one in which America thrives, some students in the field of law are asking the question “does being bilingual give me an advantage as a paralegal?” Proficiency in a second language is required by most schools and universities as a requirement for graduation, so it’s not surprising that there are benefits to bilingualism beyond graduation, particularly in the paralegal sector. Here are five advantages of being a bilingual paralegal.
Rise in Need for Bilingual Paralegals
Around 75 percent of people in the world can speak at least two languages; many are fluent is as many as three or four. For this reason, the need for bilingual paralegals has continued to rise, especially in America, where we pride ourselves on being a country of immigrants. Paralegals are needed to help with paperwork, discovery reports, and interviews that may need to be conducted in a foreign language for the ease and comfort of the client. In areas heavily populated by Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese speakers, the need has exploded, making it easier than ever to find a good job working between languages.
Different Sectors Need Language-Proficient Paralegals
Paralegals can work just about anywhere lawyers work; this is because paralegals do the heavy lifting of compiling research, doing discovery, and handling paperwork for the lawyers they work with. Paralegals can work in a variety of sectors, not just strictly within the court system. Automotive, medical, and high-tech industries are all hiring bilingual corporate counsel. Along with corporate counsel comes paralegals, who are required to speak the same foreign language as their employer in order to facilitate the legal services they need.
Related resource: 5 Great Corporate Jobs for Paralegals
Chance to Work Overseas
One of the biggest advantages for bilingual paralegals is the chance to work outside of the United States. Because an American bilingual paralegal speaks English, they become an in-demand prospect for foreign law firms and corporations. The chance to work overseas provides the bilingual paralegal with critical work experience and can set them up for a career working around the world.
Flexibility and Demand
Another advantage of being bilingual is that the work is either full-time, part-time, or contract. Because the demand for bilingual paralegals continues to grow, these professionals can choose to work as much or as often as they like; this gives them the chance to travel, go back to school, or take care of other responsibilities while still pursuing a career.
Bilingual paralegals are paid, on average, more than their monolingual counterparts. How much more a paralegal who speaks more than one language is paid than another paralegal depends on how many different languages they speak and which languages. Some languages, such as the super languages, are preferred in the law industry, while languages such as Korean, Japanese, Arabic, and Russian might yield a higher salary in the tech and business industries.
Being bilingual is most often an advantage, no matter what industry is being discussed. Being bilingual as a paralegal may lead to a great new career.