Not a fan of LA Law or The Practice? This doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from pursuing a paralegal career. Although it’s certainly true that many of the paralegals working today do so in a law firm, there are many other opportunities out there. What is your passion? Do you want to save the world? Do you a specific field of law that you want to work in? There may be a paralegal position available to you in a setting that matches your interests. Here are several different settings paralegals find work:
Corporate Setting: Are you a go-getter who enjoys working in a fast-paced setting that can translate into strong pay? Corporations across the country are employing paralegals to handle many different facets of operations. Paralegals may work with quality engineers to ensure compliance with different regulatory affairs. Others may work with M&A, especially if the merger is complicated and concerns companies from other states. Corporations are constantly on the lookout for top paralegals with knowledge of corporate law and other fields related to their industry.
Nonprofit Setting: Do you have a specific cause you’re passionate about? NGOs hire paralegals as well to handle a number of different legal matters pertaining to advancing their causes. For example, paralegals may provide legal assistance to those in the community who may have been adversely affected by an event. Others may offer counsel to help the NGO file correctly or fight within the law. Paralegals are often in demand as NGOs don’t have the budget to pay for high-profile legal counsel.
Real Estate Setting: Transferring property requires much more than just signing a few papers. Real estate offices and title houses often employ paralegals to manage real estate transactions. Paralegals can expect to prepare contracts, loan documents, and closing documents mandated in any sale. A paralegal must be versed in RESPA and other federal regulations to ensure compliance. Any error of any sort, no matter the size of the transaction, could affect or delay the sale.
If you are thinking about becoming a paralegal, there are a number of options available to you besides working in a law firm. Your first step will be to obtain an Associate’s degree from National American University or another school that has a paralegal program. It typically takes two to three years to obtain a degree, but the end result could be a thriving career in a field of your choosing. Contact your local admissions counselor to learn more about the paralegal degree program near you.