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Qualifications and Skills for Paralegal Job

  • By Steven Hayes
  • Published 11/5/2012

Employment opportunities are high for paralegal professionals in private law firms and government agencies. The basic responsibilities of a paralegal professional include preparing legal documents, conducting research on cases, meeting clients and maintaining important records.

The qualifications for paralegal job differ according to employers. Some employers prefer to recruit candidates with a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies or in any related discipline while others may employ candidates having a high school diploma provided they have excellent academic record and references.

There are certain set standards regarding qualifications for paralegal jobs. If you wish to be a paralegal professional, you can enhance your career opportunities by acquiring the following qualifications.

Earning a Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree – most employers look for candidates having a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in paralegal studies. The study program involves course-works in legal research and computer applications. Many associate’s degree programs have internship opportunities that help students in gaining hands-on experience by working as assistants in law firms.

Acquiring Certificate – if you have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in any other discipline, you can pursue a certification course in paralegal studies to get into this profession.

Certification in paralegal studies can enhance your chances of landing a good job in this field. Such courses focus mainly on practical training. The duration of a certification course in paralegal studies is six to eight months.

You can seek information on the Internet about the institutes offering degree programs (having internship opportunities) and also about the paralegal organisations offering certification courses.

Apart from the educational qualifications, you need certain skills to succeed in your career as a paralegal professional. Know about them in the following.

Communication skills – as a paralegal, you will require communicating with many like interviewing a client, consulting a specialist, taking the statement of witness and discussing cases with the attorney in charge for guidance and advices apart from the other duties. Excellent communication skills are fundamental to successful law practice.

Investigative and analytical skills – analysing case facts and citing legal authority are the duties of a paralegal so, you must possess strong analytical skills and an eye for detail. Proficiency in legal research databases and investigative skills are a must.

Organisational skills – paralegals are entrusted with the responsibility of sorting, categorising and manipulating a large amount of data and documents. The successful accomplishment of these tasks require organisational skills fundamental for a paralegal job. Therefore, you must have the ability to work in an organised way.

Other skills – multi-tasking ability and team-working skills are essential to enter in this profession. You will need to work on multiple assignments keeping sharp focus on the requirements of clients. You also have to work in a team including other professionals.

A job in claims and legal sectors requires you to possess these skills.

You can progress in your career as a paralegal professional with the appropriate credentials, skills and work experience. You can expect to get promoted to a managerial position in a law firm after working for years as an assistant with utmost efficiency. Therefore, work hard to make a bright career in this field.

Author Bio: Steven Hayes is an experienced writer based on the south coast. He loves learning and writing about new subjects. With previous experience in the recruitment industry, the majority of his work is based in this area. Here he helps you understand the qualification, training and skills necessary for finding paralegal jobs.


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