What Are Some Popular Legal Careers?
The legal field, which employs more than one million people nationwide, offers several popular and fast-paced career options. Below are summaries of three of those jobs: Lawyer, Paralegal and Legal Secretary. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Lawyers, or attorneys, serve as liaisons between the general public and the legal system. They counsel and represent clients in criminal and civil matters, which includes advising clients of their legal rights, conducting interviews and research, and going to trial when necessary. Lawyers often choose to specialize in an area such as business, environmental or international law. Lawyers earned an average of $90,000 annually in May 2009, according to Indeed.com. Becoming an attorney requires approximately seven years of postsecondary education, including a bachelor's degree and Juris Doctor (J.D.), which is earned in law school. Lawyers also must earn licensure from their state bar associations.
Paralegals, sometimes called legal assistants, do preparatory work on closings, hearings and trials and assist in drafting and preparing a variety of legal documents. Approximately 70% of Paralegals work for law firms, with the remainder employed in government offices and legal departments of major corporations. Indeed.com reported that Paralegals earned an average of $50,000 per year in May 2009. To become a paralegal, individuals must hold an associate or bachelor's degree in Paralegal Studies.
There were more than a quarter of a million Legal Secretaries in the U.S. in 2006, according to the BLS. Legal Secretaries perform clerical duties like answering phones, filing and typing. They also have advanced knowledge of the legal field and are familiar with legal terminology and procedures. According to Indeed.com, Legal Secretaries earned an average annual salary of $46,000 in May 2009. No formal education is required for this career, but many community colleges and technical schools offer Legal Secretary training programs. Additionally, certification is available through the National Association of Legal Secretaries, www.nals.org.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: