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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Lawyer, Editor, Former teacher
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Experience:  Multi-degreed professional, excellent research skills.
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So, I have been thinking about getting a job as a paralegal

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So, I have been thinking about getting a job as a paralegal ( as I have always wanted to go into law).

Can you tell me what it takes to be a paralegal and how I would go about doing it? I have pretty good writing/typing skills, a passion for it, and a respectable apptitude/intelligence (or I'd like to think so).

If you have an interest and a aptitude for law, if you like research, if you can work under pressure, and have good writing/typing/computer skills, you could have what it takes to become a good paralegal. Paralegals are in demand just about everywhere and there are a full range of study options available to one who wants to go out for it. These days you could get a certificate in legal studies, an associate degree, bachelors, or even a Masters in paralegal work. There are even accredited on-line schools for those who need a flexible schedule.

Good luck
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Yes, yes that sounds like me!! Smile I've had so many "character building" events in life I could stay composed working under a nuclear blast.

Whats the best place I could get a certificate in legal studies? Would that really be taken seriously when applying for a job as a paralegal? I would want to be a paralegal in a law firm for a foundation for if I went to law school- as I've always wanted to ( and FRENQUENTLY told I should).



Thanks for the accept. Obviously, the better the firm, the better a paralegal's credentials should be. For some of the major litigation firms where discovery material sits in crates and must be sifted through, paralegal candidates can sometimes compete with people who have law degrees but who are not, for one reason or another, admitted to practice. While if you were interested in working within the public interest sector where the pay is much lower, as a paralegal within the public defender's or prosecutor's office, for example, the more basic program should be enough to get you in.


Some employers in the public sector would even pay for you to further your skills or train you in a specialized area that could be useful, as they are more likely also to be unionized jobs.


For what it's worth, I earned a law degree in mid-life. I was not a paralegal first, but an English teacher. First in my class, however, was a woman who'd been working as a paralegal for many years and who also was switching careers. Several other paralegals were also in my class. They said it was an advantage, and I'm sure they were right.


The best school is one that is convenient for you and affordably priced. I can't answer that question with any real accuracy except to tell you to make sure that any place you attend is fully accredited with your state. A degree is, of course, better than a certificate (unless you already have a college degree and are just adding credentials to change fields).

Edited by FranL on 8/25/2010 at 1:40 PM EST