What Is The Job Outlook For A Paralegal?
Paralegals are found in virtually all parts of the legal profession. They assist lawyers in talking with clients, doing research, gathering evidence, preparing reports and court documents and interviewing potential witnesses. They may also specialize in various legal fields—depending on their interests, the needs of the company and the desire to increase pay.
Yet no matter what facet of the legal profession a paralegal chooses to specialize in or whether he plans to even specialize at all, one thing is certain: The job outlook of paralegals is expected to be rosy in the next few years. There will even be more demand for paralegals than lawyers whose employment rate for the same time period is set to grow at 10 percent.
The demand will stem from the desire of law firms to make the delivery of legal services more efficient while bringing down the cost. In fact, some law firms are even contemplating an overhaul of their support workers by assigning administrative tasks to paralegals. These tasks were once the forte of legal secretaries. As more work continues to be given to paralegals, the demand for the profession is also expected to grow.
In addition to providing more efficient services, law firms are also hiring paralegals and legal assistants in order to provide more affordable services to clients. Paralegals are trained to do some legal tasks that attorneys once performed but since they don’t bill as expensively as lawyers, law firms are able to offer clients more affordable legal services. It’s important to understand that paralegals are trained to do legal work and some may even opt to get certification to show their competence. Thus, paralegals are able to perform certain types of legal work at a much lesser cost to clients.
Another driver for the demand of paralegal professionals is the cost-cutting being undertaken by large corporations who are also taking steps to reduce their legal costs. A number of companies are realizing that maintaining an external law firm is expensive so they have decided to hire their own lawyers and paralegals who will work exclusively for the company. As more firms continue to have in-house lawyers, the demand for paralegals will also increase.
Although there will be a number of jobs available for paralegals, there will also be intense competition for positions. Employers will be more inclined to hire those who have received formal training and certification because these reflect their competency and professionalism. Paralegals who know computer and have database management skills will also be favored. Experienced paralegals who have worked in specializations that have high demand such as those dealing with intellectual property and real estate are bound to have an edge.