The number of legal research jobs that are projected to be created between 2016 and 2026 is high. Compared to every other field in the United States, the job outlook for legal assistants and paralegals is much faster than average. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will grow by 15% and 41,800 new jobs will be created. The average growth in the country is only 7%.
Anyone who wants to enter into the legal field without going as far as to earn a law degree might be interested in specializing in legal research. Paralegals and assistants play a huge role in conducting legal research and doing other administrative work for the law firm. Here is what someone who is detail-oriented and who has a passion for the law can do if they would like to enter the field:
Earn the Right Associate’s Degree
Candidates don’t need to complete a Bachelor’s degree program and then go to law school just to conduct research on cases and past legal findings. With this being said, anyone who is going to apply for a legal researcher position is going to need to demonstrate their commitment to excellence. This starts by pursuing at least an associate’s degree.
Candidates can take courses at community colleges or even online as long as the program that’s been selected is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). There are paralegal programs that students can focus your studies in to ensure that they are covering all of the curriculum needed.
Complete an Internship
Associate-level students may be able to find a good internship to apply for as they earn their degree. Internships help students who have spent time at school get the actual legal experience that they need. In a legal office, they will perform administrative duties and work close to other assistants to see how a law firm is run.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Going back to school can be intimidating for some. There are smaller law offices in city and suburban areas that may not require applicants to possess their Bachelor’s degree, but anyone who wants to work for a top law firm will need to go back to college for their Bachelor’s degree.
By majoring in Legal Studies, students will cover more in-depth content so they are prepared to have a bigger role on the research side of things. Students should try to focus some coursework in legal studies, but they can also study economics, political science, English and other relevant majors.
Related: Top 10 Best Value Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Paralegal Studies
There is no law within the legal research field that says professionals must be certified. With this being said, some employers will only hire certified applicants.
Getting certified is a way to compete in the competitive climate of the job market. It is a sign of prestige for applicants to have their paralegal or legal assistant certification through the American Alliance of Paralegals.
Getting a job in legal research isn’t as easy as putting in an application and hoping for the best. It will take time and academic effort to prepare and qualify to work in the field. Once a prospective researcher have at least your Associate’s, they can begin looking for entry-level legal research jobs which will help them gain experience while advancing their education.