Law, Safety and Security Careers | Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Paralegal / Legal Assistant

Career Area: Law, Compliance, and Public Safety

Occupation Group: Legal Support

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Paralegal / Legal Assistant earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $43,009

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $46,419

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Assists attorneys and law offices with a variety of tasks ranging from administrative support to legal research and writing. Maintains and organizes files or file databases. Conducts legal or other background research, assists with preparation for trials or hearings, and drafts documents to be filed. Uses software for electronic discovery of materials such as email for a trial. May specialize in a particular area of the law such as corporate or criminal law, family law or real estate law.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina2709+17.3%
Nationwide82202+14.6%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Paralegal / Legal Assistant is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Organizational Skills: Experience with a systematic process of structuring, integrating, co-ordinating task goals, and activities to resources in order to attain objectives.
  • Detail-Oriented: A detail oriented person is someone who pays attention to the details and can make a conscious effort to understand causes instead of just the effects, and that does this in a second nature type of way.
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office is an office suite of applications, servers, and services developed by Microsoft.
  • Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Litigation: Working experience of Litigation. Litigation is the term used to describe proceedings initiated between two opposing parties to enforce or defend a legal right. Litigation is typically settled by agreement between the parties, but may also be heard and decided by a jury or judge in court.
  • Legal Documentation: Working experience of Legal Documentation. Documentation is material that provides official information or evidence or that serves as a record.
  • Scheduling: Working experience making schedules, which are basic time-management tools, consisting of a list of times at which possible tasks, events, or actions are intended to take place withing an organization.
  • Legal Document Composition: Legal writing is a type of technical writing used by lawyers, judges, legislators, and others in law to express legal analysis and legal rights and duties. Legal writing in practice is used to advocate for or to express the resolution of a client's legal matter.
  • Legal Research: Legal research is the process of identifying and retrieving information necessary to support legal decision-making.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Paralegal / Legal Assistant that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Legal Document Preparation: Legal instrument is a legal term of art that is used for any formally executed written document that can be formally attributed to its author, records and formally expresses a legally enforceable act, process, or contractual duty, obligation, or right, and therefore evidences that act, process, or agreement.
  • Civil Litigation: Working experience in the non-criminal stream of actions in law.
  • Preparation of Pleadings: A pleading is a formal written statement of a party's claims or defenses to another party's claims in a civil action. The parties' pleadings in a case define the issues to be adjudicated in the action.
  • Real Estate Experience: Working experience with Real Estate, most often refering to buildings or land intended to generate a profit, either from capital gain or rental income.
  • Subpoena Preparation: Working experience preparing subpoenas, which are issued by government agencies, most often courts, to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure.

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years44%
3 to 5 years51%
6 to 8 years4%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Litigation Paralegal
  • Paralegal/Legal Assistant
  • Legal Assistant/Paralegal

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