How much does a paralegal make is one of the most common questions asked by the students before enrolling in a paralegal online program. Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, generally work in corporations, law firms, government offices, and other legal practice settings. Paralegals come under the umbrella of the criminal justice system. Along with this you can also visit online law degree for making a good career ahead in this field with all the required information.
They perform crucial support tasks for attorneys. They play a critical role in preparing for the trials, hearings, and meetings. They are also responsible to communicate the updates with clients. They offer a wide range of legal services, but they cannot represent a client in the court of law, charge legal fees, or attest any document. Now with this let’s quickly jump into the topic how much does a paralegal make/paralegal salary?
The paralegals are not allowed to give legal advice to the clients. Please note that the prime motive of paralegals is to help the attorneys in delivering legal services to their clients. They always work under the supervision and guidance of the attorney.
How Much does a Paralegal Make –Duties and Responsibilities
It is to be noted that not all paralegal professionals fulfill the same duties and responsibilities. Their primary duties are determined by the attorneys with whom they are associated and the kind of legal service their employer is offering. However, here are some common responsibilities fulfilled by every paralegal professional which decides how much does a paralegal make.
- Assisting in the trial preparations during a litigation practice.
- Drafting legal papers, documents, and pleadings. It also includes subpoenas, deposition notices, contracts, certifications, motions, complaints, and briefs.
- Arranging arbitration or expert psychological evaluations during a family law divorce and child custody matters.
- Investigating the facts by questioning the witnesses and clients. Thereafter, performing the legal research into the case law and its models.
- Offering behind-the-scene support in the law of court at trials, hearings, administrative proceedings, closings, mediation, and arbitration.
- Managing and organizing documents, exhibits, and files
- Handling discovery and exchange of information between the two opposing parties in a court case.
- Filing documents with state and federal courts.
You see, the functions that a paralegal is prohibited from performing are given by the law. But, the functions that they can do entirely depend upon their attorneys. Some lawyers find task delegation easier while some prefer to hire them for other duties.
The crux is, a paralegal’s prime duty is to free up the lawyer’s time so that they can concentrate on core functions. Attorneys should focus only on representing cases in the court of law and advising their clients.
Competencies and Skills of a Paralegal Professional
Not every candidate is capable of becoming a proficient paralegal. Some certain inherent skills and competencies make a good paralegal. Let’s have a look at the must-have skills of a successful paralegal.
- Organizational Skills – Paralegals are mostly involved in organizational functions. This makes it imperative for them to possess excellent organizational skills. This will help them in managing voluminous exhibits, files, documents, and papers.
- Communication Skills – Paralegals are the primary point of contact for the clients. They are required to constantly interact with the clients, court personnel, experts, and lawyers, apart from their employers. Therefore, they must have very good communication skills to facilitate the smooth progression of the case.
- Strong Research – The lawyer will depend upon the pleadings, correspondences, evidence, documents, and research memorandum submitted by the paralegal. A good paralegal is the one who has excellent research skills. He should also be proficient in writing legal documents.
- Ability to handle pressure – There is no second thought that paralegal professionals need to work under intense pressure, they might also work on multiple cases at a time. Therefore, they should have the ability to handle work pressure and forthcoming deadlines efficiently. Failure to have so will result in the missed deadline, client loss, and even health loss.
- Multitasking – Paralegal is a profession that deals with constant deadlines and multiple cases. They should be able to handle phone calls, queries, documentation, and many more tasks simultaneously. Multitasking is the need of the hour and any candidate who wishes to excel should have this quality. Please note that the scope for making mistakes or errors is very less in this profession.
How much does a paralegal make a year? You see, the salary of a professional paralegal depends upon some factors like location, range of duties, and so on. As per the stats released by BLS, the national median annual salary of a paralegal is around $54,500. However, this range can differ according to the states.
- California – $61,240
- Connecticut – $62,760
- Washington – $60,940
- Alaska – $59,140
- Massachusetts – $60,320
- New York – $58, 750
- New Jersey – $58,260
- Colorado – $58,350
- Nevada – $57,600
- Delaware – $ 57,290
Paralegal Certificate- Education and Training
You see, some paralegal professionals don’t have any formal education or any certification. They learn more during the job. The efficient guidance and supervision of the attorneys help them in learning all the crucial aspects of this profession. However, many law firms give preference to qualified candidates. Students must first ensure how much does a paralegal make an hour, before entering into this profession.
- Education – Students who wish to make it big in this profile can opt for a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree. There are many reputed and accredited junior colleges that offer paralegal certificate courses to their students.
- Training – The paralegals should have an impeccable knowledge of the classroom settings, substantive law, state and federal legal rules/procedures, and legal terminologies. This knowledge can be gained after working with an experienced and highly qualified attorney. It is to be noted that paralegal is an entry-level position and can open avenues for rewarding career choices.
This is a highly rewarding, challenging, and promising career. Paralegals are mostly seated in the law firm offices only. However, at times, they might also need to attend the court proceedings to assist the lawyer. It is usually a full-time job position with no fixed working hours. They might need to work late hours or overtime to complete work before deadlines.
We hope a better and brighter future for you as you have gained so much knowledge till now but if you feel that you have still any doubts regarding How Much does a Paralegal Make then please make sure to comment below or you can visit online schools.