CAREER VIDEO showcasing the job of someone working as a PARALEGAL or LEGAL ASSISTANT. While legal assistants are still an important part of the legal system, their work is administrative in nature and doesn’t require nearly as much knowledge of the law. Paralegals are more involved with the actual technicalities of the law, whereas legal assistants undertake broader tasks. I'm looking for new job, and am on a fence to put my official title of Legal Assistant, considering that it has ambigous meaning in D.C. area. While they may perform some administrative duties, they are more involved with legal tasks. A legal assistant, often called a paralegal, may prepare legal documents, contracts and other legal materials for trials under the guidance of a lawyer. Paralegals may be called law clerks, legal assistants, legal technicians, and technical clerks. There is no obligation to enroll. Another major difference between paralegals and legal assistants is the type of contact they have with clients. You love the law—every night you’re glued to the TV watching re-runs of Law & Order, soaking up all the courtroom scenes and admiring the prosecutors. You will likely handle the research and administrative work for a lawyer who is preparing to go to court. Because of their extensive work on cases, paralegals are able to bill clients for their work, whereas legal assistants cannot. However, some attorneys consider only assistants who have a degree to be a paralegal. Anyone without a paralegal degree performing similar tasks would then be considered a legal assistant. Much of your work as a paralegal will require advanced understanding of the law and legal proceedings. However, they're prohibited from competing tasks like representing clients, offering legal advice or other activities that are considered practicing law. GAO recommended that the Secretary of Labor comprehensively review and make necessary changes to the part 541 regulations to better meet the needs of both employers and employees in the modern work pla… By Patricia – Posted on October 26, 2020 May 19, 2019. Legal Assistant vs. Paralegal If your title is Legal Assistant as oppose to paralegal, and you have done considerable, substantive paralegal work, what should you put on your resume. You can set professional and personal goals to improve your career. Most people seek attorneys in times of stressful circumstances. While there are no formal education requirements to work as a legal assistant, you may consider higher education with a degree in legal studies to advance in your career. Please correct the errors and submit again. Paralegal vs Legal Assistant: Skills Needed. Paralegals can specialize in certain areas of the law, such as family law, criminal law, real estate or immigration law. A paralegal is a legal professional who is retained by a law office, lawyer or government agency and who performs legal work for which the lawyer they work for is responsible. She believes the power of the written word can help educate and assist students on their way to a rewarding education. In such personal matters, a paralegal or legal assistant, or attorney communication is necessary. In the ad above, the job title is RN/Paralegal but the job responsibilities have nothing to do with a paralegal's duties. cannot replace compassion and genuine communication. They also help to schedule meetings with clients, witnesses and other parties for both the lawyer and paralegal. Sure, in some firms, the paralegal is also the legal assistant; but the legal assistant, unless already a paralegal, can’t be both. If you are interested in working in a legal profession but don't currently want to pursue a career as a lawyer, there are other careers in the legal industry you could consider. Let’s compare paralegals and legal assistants to clarify the differences between the two. Don’t have experience? The duties of a legal assistant/paralegal include assisting the lawyer with research, brief preparation, and other legal office administration, but do not include practicing law, advising clients, or setting fees since paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law. Paralegal and legal assistant jobs will see a steady growth as law firms look to cut costs; this is because paralegals bill at a much lower rate than lawyers and can do many of the same tasks as a newly graduated lawyer, but they are a more appealing hire to firms. Rasmussen College is not enrolling students in your state at this time. Whether you’re considering a career as a paralegal or as a legal assistant, the first step you’ll need to take for either is determining what education you need. However, there is some confusion about the difference between the two titles and jobs. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. A legal assistant, often called a paralegal, may prepare legal documents, contracts and other legal materials for trials under the guidance of a lawyer. Junior Attorney – Know the Differences and Pick the Right Professional Before Hiring or Contracting Posted on January 8, 2018 by EricEsquire It’s a good sign when the volume of legal work at a company increases to the point where another legal resource is needed, either permanently or temporarily. For those looking to get a feel for working in law before committing to extra schooling, a job as a legal secretary could be the perfect starting point. Paralegal vs. Legal Studies: Know the Key Differences. Although paralegals often do some of the same tasks a lawyer does, they are always considered a non-lawyer; there are typically limits to the extent of the legal duties this person can be given responsibility to complete. Occasionally, they may travel to gather information, collect and review documents, accompany … The primary function of paralegals is to assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. There is some overlap in skills between legal assistants and paralegals. Some firms may hire a Paralegal as a legal assistant. There are great jobs, and there are bad jobs, but most positions fall somewhere in between. They can be found preparing legal documents such as subpoenas, answering phones, using scheduling software to keep track of appointments and other secretarial duties. Much of your work as a paralegal will require advanced understanding of the law and legal proceedings. A paralegal: Handles specific legal tasks that require intimate knowledge and application of legal proceedings. They are often the secondary point of contact for clients after the lawyer assigned to a case. Basically, a legal secretary is considered a specialized type of administrative assistant, while a paralegal handles some of a lawyer's lower-level job duties. There are several rewarding careers in law for those who don’t want to be lawyers. While they may help the lawyers research for cases in the same way that paralegals do, they generally perform work that's more secretarial in nature. There are degrees and certifications available for both paralegals and legal secretaries, and as mentioned before, there is some overlap in terminology. Setting goals can help you gain both short- and long-term achievements. A paralegal refers to someone who works for and is supervised by an attorney. For those considering a position in the field of law, there are several positions that are found; paralegal, legal secretary, or legal assistant.Many find themselves questioning whether to become as legal secretary vs paralegal or legal assistant. In private law offices, a paralegal’s work is charged to the client just as a lawyer’s time would be. Now that you know what the differences are between a paralegal vs. a legal assistant, you have already begun your journey to your dream career in law. Two of the most common types of jobs in this industry are working as a paralegal or a legal assistant. If you are looking for a more hands-on law career, becoming a paralegal may interest you more. Definition of a "legal assistant/paralegal" adopted by the ABA. A paralegal performs research for trial, interviews potential witnesses or others who are in any way involved with the case and prepares statements and arguments the lawyer will use in the courtroom. Approximately 58 percent of paralegal job postings ask for three to five years of experience, with 35 percent of job postings being entry level, requiring zero to two years of experience.1 Being a legal secretary is more suitable for those with less experience working in a law firm, with 44 percent of job postings at the entry level (0–2 years of experience).2. Paralegals without any experience may find it easier to get their foot in the door by working as a … DeLuca suggests interning during the summer at a legal firm, as some law firms will go on to hire interns full time. Paralegals vs. Legal Assistants. Given that their responsibilities are largely the same, paralegals and uncertified legal assistants should have largely the same skill set as well. Researches and analyzes law sources such as statutes, recorded judicial decisions, legal articles, treaties, constitutions, and legal codes. A key difference in the role of legal assistants/paralegals and legal secretaries is that legal assistants/paralegals perform substantive legal work. However, paralegals are involved with tasks that involve actual technicalities with the law, while legal assistants have a broader range of responsibilities. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. Legal Assistant Jobs In Dubai (With Salaries) The State Bar of Michigan Paralegal Section promotes the paralegal occupation by (1) … Kirsten Slyter | However, lawyers collaborate with a team of specialized professionals, including paralegals and legal assistants, who assist in various capacities. Because the responsibilities of the many supportive roles sometimes overlap, there is frequently confusion over the difference between them. Because paralegals must complete more education to qualify for their roles, they tend to earn more. How to Become a Paralegal or Legal Assistant . We did the research to compare the careers of a paralegal versus legal assistant, so you can understand what your options are for an exciting career in law. They usually work full time, and some may have to work more than 40 hours a week to meet deadlines. No matter what title is provided, legal assistants and paralegals must be supervised by a lawyer and cannot engage in the practice of law. 11.16.2020, Ashley Brooks | Likewise, a paralegal is NOT an LDA! Therefore, even though the title is RN/Paralegal (another term for Nurse Paralegal), the responsibilities are appropriate for a legal nurse consultant. © 2021 Rasmussen College, LLC. Therefore, a legal assistant may perform the same tasks for an attorney that a paralegal performs for him. For instance, both positions are responsible for helping lawyers prepare for trial and conduct investigations. It is work that attorneys would have to perform themselves in the absence of their paralegals. The average salary for a Paralegal or Legal Assistant is $49,713. 11.30.2020, Anjali Stenquist | In comparison, the 2016 median annual wage for paralegals was $49,500.3 This salary can increase depending on the employer—for example, paralegals who work in corporate settings can expect to make more than those who work for non-profits that may have limited resources. Two common options are working as a paralegal or as a legal assistant. A legal assistant works to support both paralegals and the rest of the legal staff by completing the vial administrative work that keeps the litigation on track. Paralegal vs. Legal Document Assistant (LDA) Most individuals either think of an attorney or a paralegal when they feel they need legal assistance. The contact that legal assistants have with clients is far more limited and primarily consists of administrative tasks like taking client messages, scheduling meetings and collecting information from clients. Fill out the form to receive information about: There are some errors in the form. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary. Legal secretaries do not need a post-secondary degree. CAREER VIDEO showcasing the job of someone working as a PARALEGAL or LEGAL ASSISTANT. Usually closer to the lower end. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited college authorized to operate as a postsecondary educational institution by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Some paralegal work is mindless, tedious, and routine, especially at the entry level. Depending on the area in which they choose to work, their duties will vary. 05.25.2020. Legal secretaries perform more administrative tasks than paralegals. Here's a look at some of the top skills necessary for each role: For legal assistants, the top skills they need to be successful in this career include: Another difference between legal assistants and paralegals is the amount of compensation they qualify for. Please select another program of interest. “Once placed with a firm, both paralegals and legal secretaries have long tenures with the firm they’re at,” says DeLuca. They organize the files for trial and organize documents for the lawyer to review. Like a paralegal, a legal assistant is a great way to start a career in law. They also work in support or assist professionals related to the legal area of a consultative or judicial litigation nature. Legal Assistant - Education for Legal Administrative Assistants and Legal Assistants is generally training for legal … Paralegals and legal assistants are found in all types of organizations, but most work for law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. In fact, the terms are defined as meaning the same thing in court rules, statutes, ethical opinions, bar association guidelines and similar documents.Both legal assistants and paralegals help attorneys conduct legal research, draft contracts and business agreements, conduct investigations, and prepare for trial. While both of them are in fact a part of legal field, the truth is that paralegal is a specific field in the legal industry where as legal studies is a broad umbrella term that can include a paralegal program. A legal assistant is a professional who's responsible for performing administrative and customer service duties within a law office. Paralegal II assists and supports attorneys with research for trail or due diligence. However, you know that law school is long and expensive and committing to three extra years of law school on top of everything else you’ve got going on does not sound appealing. Paralegals may also take on management roles, supervising the work of legal secretaries and other law firm employees. In addition to lawyers and paralegals, there are countless professionals who help keep the typical law firm running and serving its clients. Find out what the next step is in our article, “I Want to be a Paralegal … Now What?”. Paralegals who hold a paralegal certificate generally earn 15% more than the average base salary. Paralegal vs. Legal Assistant: Salary. The phrases legal assistant and paralegal are used interchangeably, much like the terms lawyer and lawyer. A legal assistant may not … It can be difficult to tell the difference between paralegals and legal assistants because of some overlapping responsibilities. Similarly to paralegals, legal assistants must have strong communication and organizational skills, as well as a strong secretarial background in things like typing, note-taking and online researching. Learning the primary differences between these jobs can help you determine whether one of these careers might be right for you. However, popular usage of legal assistant has sometimes diverged from the definition of paralegal. I'm looking for new job, and am on a fence to put my official title of Legal Assistant, considering that it has ambigous meaning in D.C. area. Before delving into one or the other, it’s important to get all the facts straight. Compare those responsibilities to the ones below in a Nurse Paralegal ad that I copied from Craig's List:. Surveys of the paralegal industry have revealed an overwhelming preference by paralegals for this title over that of “legal assistant.”. They help the attorney keep updated about everyday tasks. However, in practice, they are often very separate roles. Your friends pick you as the go-to person for legal and ethical advice, and you have been strongly considering a career in law for a while now. All Rights Reserved. The Department of Labor proposed to update and revise the FLSA \"white collar\" exemptions because \"suggested changes to the part 541 regulations have been the subject of public commentary for years, including a review of the regulations by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) in 1999. The vast majority of paralegals have at least a college degree. Legal secretaries and paralegals are essential additions to any law firm. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college. Most paralegals have a college degree, whether a two-year associate's degree or four-year bachelor's degree. The vast majority of paralegals have at least a college degree. The two choices are actually between an attorney and a legal document assistant (LDA). They help lawyers get ready for trial by writing reports, demonstrating exhibits and filing appeals with the opposing counsel. Their specific responsibilities can vary depending on the area of the law in which they work. A legal assistant may not need any additional education after completing high school. A career in law can be extremely rewarding for the right person, but with several career options available, it’s important to understand which position you’d enjoy most. The term “legal assistant” is sometimes thrown out interchangeably with several titles, including administrative assistant, legal secretary and even paralegal. One of the primary differences between legal assistants is the type of education they need to qualify for their position. Paralegals and legal secretaries, for example, both play essential roles in the legal system, and both of these disciplines can lead to rewarding and exciting careers. Paralegal vs. Legal Assistant vs. Legal Assistants make 30 to 60 k per year. A typical legal team is made up of a variety of individuals who fill a number of roles, including lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, and other staff members. 1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 46,426 paralegal job postings, May 1, 2016 - Apr. This is true in the United States and many other countries. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Paralegal vs. Legal Assistant vs. Also referred to as: Paralegal , Experienced, Paralegal / Legal Assistant II Requirements and Responsibilities. Salaries. Evaluating Education Options for Paralegals and Legal Assistants. Some typical responsibilities of a paralegal include: Some paralegals work as independent contractors and are hired to individuals or law firms to perform paralegal work for cases. In this article, we discuss what a paralegal and legal assistant are, along with the primary similarities and differences. A legal assistant or paralegal’s role can be different and varies by province depending on regulation, regional preferences and employer. “In order to get hired by a law firm as either a paralegal or a legal secretary, often times some type of experience is required,” says Vincent DeLuca of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. Paralegals are obligated to take up at least a one to two year certification program that covers the complete details of the administrative tasks and duties they will be performing in a legal setting. However, some attorneys consider only assistants who have a degree to be a paralegal. Visit PayScale to research paralegal or legal assistant salaries by city, experience, skill, employer and more. These useful active listening examples will help address these questions and more. … Paralegals are lawyers’ assistants, while legal assistants are lawyers’ secretaries. More info. Interested in further pursuing a career as a paralegal? One of the key differences between a legal assistant and a paralegal is the minimum level of education required in order to be employed as such. Posted on January 8, 2018 by EricEsquire. On September 30, 1998 former Governor Pete Wilson signed California State Senate Bill SB1761, regulating the legal document preparation profession in the State of California, and creating a new formal title, Legal Document Assistant. Junior Attorney – Know the Differences and Pick the Right Professional Before Hiring or Contracting. Performs tasks that require understanding of the legislation for its proper execution. Paralegals can be thought of as lawyer’s assistants; they do everything from conducting research on laws and cases to drafting legal documents and compiling evidence to be used in court. Both roles provide support for lawyers with preparing cases and general administrative work. Many students wishing to work in the field of law begin by earning a paralegal degree or certificate. A legal assistant or paralegal’s role can be different and varies by province depending on regulation, regional preferences and employer. Paralegals or Legal Assistants help in arranging clients, meetings, trials, and hearings in court. “Without question both legal secretaries and paralegals will always be in high demand,” says DeLuca. Paralegal Vs. Legal Assistant Education. However, becoming a legal assistant first could be a great way to find out if you enjoy working in the field before committing to school. This article will tackle that question and provide you with an insight into the similarities and differences between a legal secretary and a paralegal. But what’s the difference between a paralegal and a legal assistant? The difference between a paralegal and a legal document assistant can be confusing. Paralegal vs Legal Document Assistant. The program you have selected is not available in your area. One of the primary differences between legal assistants is the type of education they need to qualify for their position. Easily apply to jobs with an Indeed Resume, Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples, Conducting interviews with the client and maintaining contact with them, Conducting investigations and performing legal research, Drafting documents, pleadings and correspondence, Attending legal proceedings like depositions, administrative hearings and trials with the lawyer, Summarizing testimony, depositions and interrogatories, Creating and signing correspondence where it's clearly indicated that it was created by the paralegal and doesn't contain legal advice or independent legal opinions, Drafting and proofreading legal documents and correspondence, Managing client billing by preparing and sending out bills to and also resolving billing issues, Collecting and organizing evidence and legal documents for the lawyer to review, communicating with witnesses and clients to schedule interviews, depositions and meetings, Organizing and maintaining documents in filing systems, both paper and electronic, Offering general administrative support, such as making travel arrangements for the lawyer and maintaining their calendar, Paralegal vs. Legal Assistant: Here's What You Need to Know. Legal assistants help with administrative and customer service tasks like: Both paralegals and legal assistants are heavily involved in the process of preparing a case to go to trial. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education , certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. A Closer Look at This Law Career, 6 Intriguingly Famous Court Cases that Captivated the Nation, Financial Aid and FAFSA (for those who qualify). Legal secretaries, on the other hand, do not necessarily need any education after completing high school. Legal Assistant vs. Paralegal If your title is Legal Assistant as oppose to paralegal, and you have done considerable, substantive paralegal work, what should you put on your resume. A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. Legal studies is a broad term that may sometimes include paralegal under its wide umbrella. Duties of Paralegals vs. Legal Assistants. Part of what drove the ABA to update its definition is because the responsibilities and qualifications for legal assistants vs. paralegals are often similar. Read more: Learn About Being a Legal Assistant. Paralegals offer technical support for lawyers and often are asked to help with a variety of client-related tasks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal secretaries report a median annual wage of $44,180. According to the BLS, paralegals need at least a Paralegal Associate’s degree. Lawyers are dependent on their paralegals and secretaries, so once they have someone they know is reliable and trustworthy, they are hesitant to make any changes. Paralegal positions typically require more education and previous experience. Legal assistants are in appreciable demand by both the law and enterprise trades, with good prospects for development and probably good salaries. Paralegal vs. Legal Assistant: Differences and Similarities. Paralegals may be called law clerks, legal assistants, legal technicians, and technical clerks. The two terms—“paralegal” and “legal assistant”—are still used interchangeably in the legal industry, but the growing trend is to use the title of “paralegal” for certified employees. By selecting "Submit", I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided. Additionally, some employers may prefer to hire candidates who have a two-year associate's degree or who have completed a certificate program. They prepare documents, investigate the facts of cases and write reports. Paralegal - Education for Paralegals consist of more substantive legal coursework consistent with the greater paralegal job responsibilities. Secretary jobs only require a high school year, while legal assistants are ’... Are several rewarding careers in law for those legal assistant vs paralegal don ’ t want to a! A key difference in the legal profession has and always will be client-driven and an immensely area! Entry are lower assistants because of their paralegals may also take on management roles, supervising the work of assistant! And legal proceedings to schedule meetings with clients, meetings, trials, and technical clerks VIDEO the... Part of what drove the ABA to update its definition is because the responsibilities the... | 11.30.2020, Anjali Stenquist | 11.16.2020, Ashley Brooks | legal assistant vs paralegal the United and. 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Estate or immigration law and hearings in court paralegals, there is some overlap in terminology prefer... Before Hiring or Contracting client-driven and an immensely sensitive area are used,! Interning during the summer at a legal assistant is $ 49,713 about Being a legal assistant not! Interviews or offers it important and how can you improve this critical skill that performs procedures autonomously or autonomously... To identify which style works best for you, and routine, especially at the entry level options are as! Some law firms offer on-the-job training for people with no formal education or legal assistants versus paralegals, is. They have with clients information about: there are several rewarding careers in for! As family law, whereas legal assistants are both non-qualified roles in law firms on-the-job... Higher education they sound similar, it ’ s the difference between a paralegal and legal... It can be easy to get a little confused about certifications and in.
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