Being a paralegal means that you get to be a part of fascinating legal work in and out of the courtroom. Paralegals perform many of the same tasks that attorneys do, and they often have more face-to-face contact with clients than lawyers do. What does it actually take to become a paralegal ? Here’s a look at the steps you need to take to tap into the paralegal jobs available in New York City.
Get the Right Education
To become a paralegal, you will first need to get the necessary education. There are two paths most schools offer: an associate degree program and a paralegal certification program. Associate degrees take approximately two years to complete, while paralegal certification can be completed in a year or less in most cases. Which option is the right one for you? It depends on your final career goals. Most certified paralegals work in entry-level positions, while those with more education get more advanced roles. If you obtain certification and decide you want to move further in your degree, you can go back and complete the additional education at a later date.
Decide Where to Apply
Law firms come in all sizes, and the work paralegals do varies with the type of firm. Decide where you would like to launch your paralegal career. Small firms are a great place to learn the ropes and can give you exposure to a range of paralegal responsibilities. At large firms, you may earn more, but you may also have a very specific role without much variety. If you choose to work with a corporate firm, you can expect to spend more time in meetings than in the courtroom. Although you should be open to all opportunities, know what your goal is.
Create a Resume
Jobs in the legal field are competitive, so your resume needs to do a good job of selling you. If you’re unsure about how to make your resume stand out, seek help at your career institute before applying for jobs. The helpful staff there can help you condense your work experience and qualifications while highlighting the information that is most relevant to the positions to which you are applying.