General Question

formerfuturelawyer's avatar

What is the real job outlook for paralegals?

Asked by formerfuturelawyer (22 points ) September 20th, 2011

I’ve been a paralegal for a few years now, and try to keep up to date on the future of this “profession” as I plot my career trajectory. With the declining legal market, I worry my job is in jeopardy, I think by virtue of the economy and law firms trying to remain competitive by cutting costs, but every now and then I see articles on the Wall Street Journal (like their Path to Professions guide) which would indicate it’s a growing field. However, when I look at sites like Indeed and check their job trends I start to think differently.

What do you all think? Is the paralegal para-profession doomed? Are there other careers I should check out? I’m thinking accounting, law firm management, health care compliance, contract administration, and sales, but could use some advice here. I do not want to go to law school, which countless articles suggest it’s simply not worth the investment. (Now, if they had a two-year degree for law followed by a state-administered exam like the CPA exam, I might be interested…)

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3 Answers

jsc3791's avatar

I think it’s a great start that you’re actually thinking ahead. A lot of people don’t do that until it’s too late and they are often left jobless and clueless about what to do next.

I worked as a paralegal for a short time, but found that there was little room for advancement in the industry. I live in Kentucky and you don’t have to be licensed or certified to work as a paralegal here. I have a BA in Journalism and often felt like a glorified secretary. I hope that was the just firm I worked in and not an indicator of the industry as a whole. Because truly, paralegals really keep a law firm running! They deserve respect and great pay!

That said, I think you have identified some awesome alternatives to look into. Law firm management seems like a great idea, and is one I thought of often.

Instead of having a law firm of attorneys who hire paralegals, why not flip it and have a solid team of legal managers and paralegals with vast knowledge and experience in their field and then hire the attorneys? Just a thought.

What about a degree in business management?

Good luck! Seems like you’re headed in the right direction!

dreamwolf's avatar

I feel they will always be needed. When I first went to court for some petty ticket I noticed a lot of defendants were not present. Instead the lawyers were. And the lawyers were reading off something, that I’m sure a paralegal prepared for him. And I’m sure, as long as you have the working class (hint hint) then you’ll be okay. Because they can afford the lawyers.

You might want to intern at a commercial journalism entity like NBC, CBS etc if you’ve got it in your area. Why not?

christine215's avatar

Right now, product liability is a good place to be (if you can stomach it) maybe instead of changing your career all together, you could look into changing the type of law which you’re working.

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