Meghan Markle is living out every girl’s dream in her new role as a Princess of the United Kingdom, but before she was the Duchess of Sussex, she played perfect paralegal Rachel Zane on the TV show Suits. While your chances of becoming a princess are probably slim, you can still rock a law office as a paralegal, just like Meghan’s character.
“Rachel Zane is the best paralegal in the best law firm in New York. She is relied upon by the best lawyers who have graduated from the best university” – Louis Litt.
Rachel Zane was the wonder paralegal. Her research was flawless, her speed was unbeatable, and her knowledge of the law far exceeded many newly qualified lawyers. Meghan made the role look like worlds of fun. Believe it or not, starting a career as a paralegal is easier than you think.
Paralegal Education Requirements
As an aspiring paralegal, you need at least an associate’s paralegal studies degree, a post-baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies, or paralegal courses on your bachelor’s degree transcript. Sound complicated? It really isn’t. Ensure the American Bar Association has approved your program and you’re all set!
Paralegal Experience Requirements
While no experience is necessary to find your first paralegal job, you will have a much easier job search if you have some experience in the legal field you want to enter. One of the best ways to gain experience is to intern at a law firm while you’re going to school. You can find both paid and unpaid internships by visiting your college’s career center and watching internships.com.
You can also gain experience by taking a job related to the kind of law firm you want to join. For example, you can find a job in a bank if you want to go into estate or financial law. You might consider a work-from-home court transcript job, too.
What do Paralegals Do in the Real World?
Paralegals are basically whizz kids. Not only are they outstanding at administrative work, but their legal knowledge has to be great too. They provide integral support to legal executives, barristers, and solicitors. Daily job duties usually involve:
- Administration support
- Drafting legal documents
- Filing documents
- Project Management
- Client Progression and Care
- Legal Research
- Investigating facts in pending cases
- Drafting contracts
- Gathering statements and affidavits that can be used as evidence in court
Most often paralegals work work solely in one department. Much like lawyers, they specialize in a specific part of the law.
How Much Money Do Paralegals Make?
Most paralegals make between $35,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on location and specialty. If you want to make serious cash, move to the District of Colombia where the average paralegal salary is $76,620!
So, while you probably won’t get to wear a diamond tiara to the office, you can still rock an inspiring career as a paralegal. If you’re great at research, love playing a supporting role, and look great in a pants suit, you’re sure to love being a paralegal.