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Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Quick Facts : Paralegals and Legal Assistants*
2010 Median Pay$46,680
Entry Level EducationAssociate's degree
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 2012256,000
Job Outlook18% (About as fast as average)
Employment Change46,900

Paralegals and legal assistants manage various tasks at a law firm to help and support the lawyers. Their duties include maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents. However, their specific duties may vary depending on the size of the firm or organization.

What Paralegals and Legal Assistants Do

  • Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
  • Keep information related to cases or transactions in computer databases
  • Write reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
  • Draft correspondence and other documents, such as contracts and mortgages
  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court

Work Environment

Paralegals and legal assistants are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, or government agencies. They usually work full time, and overtime is sometimes needed to meet important deadlines.
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Job Outlook

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, primarily in law firms, but many large corporations are increasing their in-house legal departments to cut costs.
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The average salary of paralegals and legal assistants was $46,680 in May 2010.
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Paralegals and Legal Assistants*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Paralegals and Legal Assistants


Legal & Law Enforcement Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants*
Percent Change in Employment

Paralegals and Legal Assistants


Legal & Law Enforcement Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies. In some cases, employers may hire college graduates with a bachelor's degree but no legal experience or education and train them on the job.
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