So perhaps you are considering the pursuit of a paralegal degree but you are not sure what such a career entails or what you can do with it here in NYC. Well, there are many career options to consider while pursuing an Associate Degree as a paralegal. The projections are that this is one career that will rapidly grow over the next five years.
What is a Paralegal? What is it they do?
A paralegal executes a fluctuating array of responsibilities to support lawyers. Lawyers depend on paralegals to work diligently with them on their casework. Obtaining a paralegal degree trains an individual to deliver an esteemed and tangible service while working alongside attorneys and clients. The skills they perform for attorneys include:
- Interviewing clients and witnesses.
- Managing legal research from case law, laws and legal journals.
- Preparation of court documents and writing legal communications.
- Filing legal documents at court.
- Assist in collecting applicable evidence for exhibition in a court of law.
- Assisting in inquiries to obtain facts for the record.
- Supporting attorneys during depositions and court hearings.
- Maintain relevant documents in paper and electronic formats.
Career Options and Specialties
Choosing to attend a paralegal school can prepare you for an exciting career with a paralegal degree. A 60 credit Associate Paralegal Degree in this field will not only prepare you for all the generalities that the occupation requires, but you will be offered the opportunity to select coursework in a specialty field as a paralegal. Here are some of the alternatives available:
Criminal Law—The potential for a rewarding career with a paralegal degree has two ways to go if you choose to specialize in the area of criminal law. You can choose to work in a private law practice with criminal defense attorneys or perhaps work for the prosecution in the pursuit of justice.
Injuries/Torts—Our laws guarantee that people who are harmed by others have the right to seek justice in a civil court to seek restitution. Injury/Tort law lets you into the world of lawsuits.
Wills, Trusts & Estates—Estate Planning in the 21st Century is becoming more complex than ever. In this field, you help families develop wills and trusts for the appropriate distribution of assets after the loss of a loved one according to their wishes.
Corporations—Working in the field of corporate law is vast and multifaceted. Everything from mergers, spinoffs, sales and corporate structure are covered. If you like the fast paced world of finance, then this might be your choice once obtaining a paralegal degree.
Employment Law—Both state and federal laws often cover Employment law. Workers and businesses seek to ensure that their interests are looked after, and this field delves into pay, hours, working conditions and more.
Immigration Law—Immigration is a sticky issue for many newcomers to the United States. A myriad of rules and regulations must be navigated when citizenship and deportation are at stake.
Bankruptcy Law—Many businesses and individuals fail financially every year. Under Federal law, these legal entities have the right to seek reorganization or relief from high debts.
Elder Law—This is a relatively new field for those with a paralegal degree, which seeks to provide justice and protection for the most vulnerable in our society, the elderly. As our nation’s population of older people increases, our elderly clearly need protection from a variety of abuses that they may face in their golden years.
Career Outlook in NYC – Paralegal Degree
The growth rate for paralegals is climbing according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The current employment rate in the NYC Metropolitan area is nearly 16,000 positions, which is one of the highest levels of employment in the state. The BLS lists the median salary of a paralegal in NYC as being $60,080 with opportunities for advancement. That is especially true of those who leave law firms and move into the world of corporate and financial institutions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the prospect of future growth and career opportunities for paralegals is quite bright for the years ahead. Growth in this field is expected to grow faster than average at a rate of 17% by 2020.