What Is the Economic Outlook for a Career As a Paralegal?
More Paralegals are being hired to handle legal duties once done exclusively by lawyers. This is both good and bad news for those pursuing a career as a Paralegal. Competition for employment is high, and the best opportunities require Paralegals to have formal training and work-related experience. Schools offering Paralegal degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Economic Outlook for a Career as a Paralegal
Paralegals are being hired by companies all across the U.S in an effort to reduce legal costs. Consequently, demand for Paralegals is high and will continue to increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. In fact, the BLS projects a 22% growth for Paralegals between 2006 and 2016, which outpaces all other occupations in the U.S. Growth for Paralegals stems from the expanding U.S. population. Americans require more legal services, and Paralegals are a less expensive option than lawyers. In addition, the BLS cites the increase in prepaid legal plans as a contributing factor to Paralegal demand.
Top Employers for Paralegals
The majority of Paralegals are employed by private law firms. However, more and more corporations are adding Paralegals to their in-house legal staff to reduce costly lawyer fees. Specialized Paralegals will enjoy increased demand where they have industry-specific training. Community organizations hire Paralegals to assist low-income families and elderly with their legal issues. Paralegals also work for government agencies. Insurance companies, real estate businesses, title firms and banks will create the most job openings.
Paralegal Salaries and Benefit Packages for Paralegals
Paralegal salaries vary by education, work experience, region and employer size. Paralegals employed by large metropolitan law firms will earn more than those Paralegals employed by smaller, rural law firms. According the BLS, Paralegals earned a median annual salary of $43,040 during 2006. Paralegals receive other fringe benefits, such as vacation time, paid sick leave, a retirement plan, a life insurance policy and dental insurance. Some Paralegals are reimbursed for continuing education courses.
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