If you’re thinking about going to school to become a paralegal, I have great news for you! There are more career options for paralegals than ever before. In this article, we’re going to discuss some exciting career options and you’ll learn how to tell if that career option is right for you. One more note before we dive in. You don’t have to stick with one career option for paralegals for your entire professional life. You can change as you discover what you like and what you don’t like.
Work in a Traditional Law Office
One of the most obvious career options for paralegals is working in a traditional law office. A traditional law office is a great career choice for both new and experienced paralegals. The roles that you would fill in a traditional law office would ultimately depend on the size of the office. It would also depend on the type of law that is practiced. Keep in mind that inexperienced paralegals won’t necessarily start out with a ton of responsibilities. As you show your competence, you’ll be given more responsibility and likely become a key part of office life. You may have to meet a certain amount of billable hours. You should find out and consider whether you believe you’re capable of doing so before you take the job.
Working for a Corporation
If law firm life doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you could consider working for a corporation. The business doesn’t have to be big. Many businesses have the need for a paralegal. Most do not have billable hours since your work is devoted to serving just one entity. In addition to a legal department, many insurance companies hire paralegals as claims adjustors.
Virtual Law Offices
More and more solo attorneys are branching out on their own by way of setting up a virtual law office. When a solo attorney says that they are a virtual law office, it means that they most likely work out of their home. You would also most likely work with them on a remote basis. Although this creates a work from home scenario, you must consider several factors including whether the lawyer needs you on a full-time basis, the pay of the position, taxes (you’ll most likely be responsible for your own taxes), and you won’t have the constant oversight of an attorney. Some virtual law offices will want you to act as receptionist for the first as well.
Sites like Upwork give talented and experienced professionals the opportunity to build their own business. Paralegals are no exception. Many lawyers and businesses use freelance sites to find help with specific cases or projects. You can even find members of the public seeking paralegal services for help forming businesses, with completing divorce documents, and performing research. Just remember that when it comes to working directly with the public, you are unable to give legal advice.
You could consider starting your own paralegal business for document preparation. It would be important for you to understand any state rules related to doing so. In some states, paralegals are not allowed to choose the right documents for members of the public. They can only complete the documents that the client brings to them. If you choose the route, you should make it abundantly clear to clients and potential clients that you are a paralegal and while you can fill out forms and documents, you cannot advise them on the content, tell them what they need to do, or represent them in court.
It All Starts with You
Your desire to have a career as a paralegal starts with your decision to get the education and the experience you need to become an integral part of a law firm or business. Thanks to technology, you also have the opportunity to work from home or start your own business. It’s a great time to be a paralegal!