Paralegal Studies

A paralegal or legal assistant is an individual who assists an attorney in delivering legal services. They do not offer or give legal advice as this can only be done by a qualified lawyer. Paralegals mainly assist lawyers with document preparation and research.

Generally, people who enjoy law, research, attention to detail and administration would also enjoy being a paralegal. Unlike lawyers who participate in client consultations, settlement negotiations and full blown trials, paralegals operate more behind the scenes, helping the lawyer prepare for skilled public interaction. Paralegals are, therefore, an indispensable part of a law firm.

Paralegal studies include coursework in various forms of law. While pursuing a paralegal certificate, Associate’s Degree in paralegal studies or a Bachelor’s Degree in paralegal studies, an individual will take courses in real estate law, contracts, personal injury, immigration law, environmental law, domestic relations, dispute resolution, criminal law, will and estate law, as well as legal research and writing, just to name a few. Though paralegal students study the law and, thus, are able to garner a good understanding of the law, they are not lawyers and are not able to have legal clients of their own.

If you already hold a Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree, a certificate of paralegal studies can be obtained in about seven months. A Bachelor’s Degree in paralegal studies for someone who does not yet hold a degree can be obtained in three to four years. If you’re interested in working in the legal field but prefer to work behind the scenes rather than directly with the clients, the paralegal field may be right for you.