Paralegals, also called legal assistants, work closely with attorneys, judges, prosecutors, or public defenders and perform a wide range of professional tasks, such as legal research, writing, interviewing, document preparation, and office management. Paralegals work in law firms, business corporations, and government agencies.
Paralegals must be able to document and present their findings and opinions to their supervising attorney. They need to understand legal terminology and have good research and investigative skills. Familiarity with the operation and applications of computers in legal research and litigation support also is important. Paralegals should stay informed of new developments in the laws that affect their area of practice.
Despite projected rapid employment growth, competition for jobs is expected to continue as many people seek to go into this profession; experienced, formally trained paralegals should have the best employment opportunities. Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 28 percent through 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employers are trying to reduce costs and increase the availability and efficiency of legal services by hiring paralegals to perform tasks once done by lawyers. Paralegals are performing a wider variety of duties, making them more useful to businesses. Demand for paralegals also is expected to grow as an expanding population increasingly requires legal services, especially in areas such as intellectual property, healthcare, international law, elder issues, criminal law, and environmental law. The growth of prepaid legal plans also should contribute to the demand for legal services.
Source: Technical College System of Georgia – Knowledge Management System; American Bar Association