Naturally, a person who aspires to become a paralegal wants to know about the prerequisites for a paralegal degree program. It’s wise for someone to prepare as thoroughly as possible for the responsibilities of this job. The following offers information on these prerequisites as well as some important details about this challenging career.
Pursuing a Paralegal Degree
One of the prerequisites required for someone who wants to enter a paralegal degree program is a high school diploma or GED. This is the only educational requirement. In addition to a high school diploma, there are certain skills that can benefit someone who wants to study to become a paralegal. For instance, a person must be organized. The ability to organize research and create a system of documents that are easy to retrieve are two skills that can prove invaluable to someone working as a paralegal. A person who wants to study to be a paralegal should also pay close attention to detail. This is a skill that a paralegal uses on a daily basis. Experience with computers and the Internet is also a plus for people in this profession.
The Work of a Paralegal
A paralegal assists an attorney on his or her cases. Conducting research is one of the most important responsibilities of a paralegal. The person conducts research online and in publications at the library. A paralegal also organizes documents that are critical to a case and confirms information given to the attorney by clients or witnesses. In short, a paralegal does a lot of the ‘footwork’ required to make sure a case is built in a solid way. While an attorney is busy with framing an argument and figuring out an approach to a case, a paralegal takes care of a lot of the administrative work. If the paralegal doesn’t do his or her work with diligence, the attorney may not be able to win the case for the client.
The Potential for Career Growth
A paralegal working in a large law firm may have more potential for career growth than someone working in a smaller firm. A large law firm may have several lawyers in the office along with many paralegals. A paralegal who does his or her work in an efficient, accurate way may be promoted to supervisor. He or she would earn a higher salary with the added responsibility of overseeing all of the other paralegals working in the office. Alternatively, in a smaller law firm, there may be just a couple of paralegals employed there. Any paralegal who establishes a reputation for excellent research has the potential to earn a higher salary from an appreciative employer.
The Work Environment of Paralegals
A paralegal can work in practically any area of the law. Some examples include family law, criminal law, tax law and animal welfare law. The skills of a paralegal are needed no matter who is involved in a case. So, a paralegal may start out his or her career in one area of the law and decide to transition into another area.
Finally, a paralegal plays an important part in the legal process no matter what area he or she works in. Having the appropriate prerequisites for a paralegal degree program helps a person start off on the right foot in this rewarding career.
Check out ” Law: The Future is Here” to learn more about paralegal careers.