Paralegals and legal assistants between the years 2012 and 2022 are predicted to experience a projected growth of 17 percent. This rate is considerably faster as compared to the average for all professions.
In order to lower their costs and enhance the efficiency of the legal services they provide, law firms will expectedly hire more legal assistants and paralegals. A few law firms are even going as far as redesigning their projected staffing and recreating their supporting personnel by offering more positions for paralegals. The administrative work which was previously delegated to legal secretaries will possibly be given to paralegals as a result of this change.
In their attempt to reduce the expenses of billing because of the stress from clients, law firms will turn to paralegals. This is due to the fact that paralegals are likely a less expensive alternative to attorneys and they can carry out a wide range of tasks, including the duties typically served by attorneys. As a result, the demand for legal assistants and paralegals will experience a considerable increase.
While the largest employers of legal assistants will continue to be law firms, several large organizations will look to cut their costs by enhancing their in-house legal teams, which is quite evident right now as well. For a majority of corporations, the high expenses of attorneys along with their supporting personnel are extremely costly as compared to the more economical alternative of having their own in-house legal department which will do the same tasks as an outside counsel. Consequently, this will make way for an increasing demand of legal assistants and workers in a wide range of settings, including consulting firms, healthcare providers, as well as finance and insurance firms.
There is only one downside to this aspect, which is the fact that the demand for legal workers may well be limited as per the workloads of law firms. This means that when the work rate might be slow, attorneys will likely carry out billable assignments by themselves while giving less work to their legal assistants. Due to this, firms will look towards keeping a limited staff of paralegals until the amount of work they receive experiences a considerable increase.
Typically, paralegals and legal assistants are offered full time jobs. Since there are several applicants attracted to this profession, the competition for job openings will likely be strong. Paralegals who are formally trained and well experienced, and possess all the necessary database and computer handling skills will predictably enjoy the best job prospects. Furthermore, most firms will opt for legal assistants who are experienced and specialized in the areas of practice which are high in demand.
The median wage on an annual basis for legal assistants and paralegals was calculated to be around $46,990 as of May 2012. The median salary is the salary in a profession at which half the professionals earned more than the specified amount as compared to the other half which earned less. Comparatively, less than $29,420 was earned by the lowest 10 percent whereas more than $75,410 was earned by the highest 10 percent. This statistics are all based on the research carried out by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As of May 2012, the median annual salaries for legal assistants and paralegals in the leading five businesses in which these professionals worked were the following:
|Federal government (postal services excluded)||$62,400|
|Finance and insurance firms||$54,670|
|Local government (hospitals, education excluded)||$47,000|
|State government (hospitals, education excluded)||$42,050|
To sum up these numbers in simpler words, the legal assistants and paralegals who were working for larger cities or for larger law firms earned more as compared to the ones who were working for smaller firms or in smaller cities.
Of course, these numbers are quite impressive for those who are interested in knowing how to become a paralegal or what does a paralegal do. There are also some people wondering how long does it take to become a paralegal. In short, it usually takes a couple of years for an individual looking to make a career as a paralegal to be completely trained and educated in the profession. There are also many online institutions and websites which are offering paralegal certification online nowadays. Like every other occupation, there is no doubt that more paralegal career information and experience is obviously earned through the passage of time as an individual spends time working professionally and earns essential knowledge which increases their grip as well as efficiency on the subject.