If you’ve always been intrigued with the law and have considered pursuing a career in the legal field, one of the ways to get started is to enroll in an Associate’s Program in Paralegal Studies. You can go online and find a long list of paralegal programs, but ideally, one will stand out from the rest. The challenge is finding that perfect program. When you’re living in the South Florida area, your options are vast, but there is a way to whittle through all of these selections.
What Exactly Does a Paralegal Do?
The main responsibility of a paralegal is assisting attorneys in a law office, non-profit organization, or in the government sector. This is done by executing clerical duties that are heavily related to legal proceedings and documentation. A great deal of a paralegal’s work involves legal researching and writing. When it comes to the legal industry, an extensive paper trail of documentation is needed for every decision made in a legal case. In most, if not all cases, a paralegal will be called upon to finalize these documents after the attorney has made the necessary revisions.
What’s Expected of a Paralegal?
Paralegals need to familiarize themselves with writing up affidavits and all other related documents, as well as understanding legal terminology. Having the ability to multitask is absolutely necessary as attorneys typically handle more than one case and each one moves at its own pace with its unique demands and pressing deadlines. Therefore, the paralegal is required to pay special attention to detail and be extremely organized.
Attorneys rely heavily on communication. A paralegal must also possess great communication skills as he/she will be speaking regularly with other attorneys as well as clients, witnesses, and courtroom staff.
The Importance of a Paralegal
A paralegal plays a crucial part in every aspect of the law, whether it’s in a law firm, for the government, in a corporation, or a private practice. They assist attorneys in preparing for meetings, trials, and hearings. Depending on the scope of their responsibilities, they can also manage emails and data. As a paralegal, you can apply for jobs in legal areas such as personal injury, criminal defense or prosecution, corporate law, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, real estate, and intellectual property. Depending on what kind of legal operation you’re working for, a paralegal’s job can focus on one huge case or several.
How is this Different from a Legal Secretary?
Paralegals usually have an associates or bachelor’s degree. Legal secretarial positions may require only a diploma or certificate, as the duties involved aren’t as extensive. A legal secretary’s role remains more administrative, scheduling meetings, collecting and processing information from clients, and organizing working files and documents for attorneys to review.
How Long Will it Take to Complete?
The Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies at Florida National University (FNU) takes only 20 months for full-time students to complete. Through this program, you’ll gain a strong understanding of legal research while strengthening your writing skills. You’ll also learn the basic procedure of civil and criminal law. Should you choose to enroll in this program on a part-time basis, it will take a little longer for you to graduate.
What Does the Job Market for Paralegals Look Like?
The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor states that the employment of legal secretaries is expected to grow 8% between 2014-2024. The reason for this projected growth can be attributed to the many law firms streamlining their processes and reducing their overall costs by hiring paralegals instead of taking on another practicing partner.
How Much Can a Paralegal Make?
Depending on the area, the law firm and how big or small it is, a paralegal can start at $30,000 and up. This is also based on your experience and how long you’ve been practicing in this profession.
Are My Credits Transferrable?
All FNU degree program courses have transferrable credits. FNU is a fully accredited university, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), committed to giving our students a top quality education. This seal of approval holds us accountable to ensuring all of our scholastic programs are designed to offer a continuous quality of improvement.
FNU: Preparing You to Uphold the Law
As a paralegal, you’ll be part of a law team that’s dedicated to upholding the law. In this rewarding field of work, you’ll be able to learn about the legal industry while working alongside professional lawyers who have been practicing law for years. If you’re interested in working as a paralegal in South Florida, consider FNU. We have three campuses, two in Hialeah and one in Miami. We also offer the program fully online.
Get the enrollment process started to earn your associate’s degree from a reputable college in sunny South Florida. Start your career as a legal professional today! Contact our admissions department to schedule an appointment now.