- Median Annual National Salary
- 2009 – 2018 Job Growth
- Education/Training Required
- 35% 2 Years
Types of Paralegals – Paralegal Specializations
Many law firms now specialize in a particular subset of the law such as immigration, estate planning, or patent law. There are many different paralegal types and specializations and many paralegal degree programs encourage additional courses in a specific legal topic in order to make yourself a stronger candidate for law firms that have one or two main focuses.
Estate Planning Paralegal
Estate planning paralegals, also known as probate paralegals assist with creating legal documents pertaining to estates, wills, trusts, and probate forms. As an estate planning paralegal, you will need to assist clients who have recently lost loved ones and help them through the probate process. You will need to be able to draft up and interpret a variety of legal documents.
Real Estate Paralegal
If you choose to become specialized in real estate, you will learn all about ordering and researching title information, deeds of trusts, quit claim deeds, and similar documents. You will become knowledgeable about real estate closing processes and the administrative work that must be done to prepare for a closing, transfer of assets, and the like. You will also learn about foreclosures and defaults on loans secured by real estate.
Insurance paralegals assist with cases of insurance fraud, questionable claims, and a variety of administrative and research tasks surrounding insurance issues. Insurance paralegals work in traditional law firms or within the legal department of an insurance company. Insurance paralegals must be able to sift through insurance policies and understand how they relate to specific cases as well as assist with insurance claims processes.
Employment Law Paralegal
Employment law paralegals specialize in all legal matters involving employment such as hiring and firing issues, workplace discrimination issues, labor union matters, sexual harassment, and workplace safety issues. As an employment paralegal, you will need to gain knowledge about general employment laws as well as those that pertain to your specific state.
Patent paralegals and attorneys are well known for their high compensation. As a patent paralegal, you will assist patent agents and attorneys with research and administrative tasks such as filling out required documents to obtain a patent or research existing patents or violations. If you want to become a patent paralegal, you will need to take elective courses or certifications in patent law. Patent laws can be confusing and complex, which is why the compensation tends to be higher for those who possess knowledge and skill in this area.
With the recent economic downturn and the unprecedented number of bankruptcies occurring, bankruptcy paralegals are in high demand. As a bankruptcy paralegal, you will become familiar with the many forms and procedures involved in the bankruptcy process. In your studies, you will learn about the different procedures for businesses versus consumers who file for bankruptcy. It is a well known fact that a large percentage of start up businesses don’t make it, which keeps bankruptcy attorneys and paralegals busy.
As an immigration paralegal, you will learn about the immigration process and work with clients on a frequent basis assisting them every step of the way. The work of an immigration can be very rewarding as you assist someone in creating a new life for themselves in the United States. You will perform assistance and administrative tasks such as obtaining green cards, filling out citizenship applications, and similar tasks. If you are seeking a position as an immigration paralegal, being able to speak multiple languages is a major asset and can make or break your chances of being hired at a firm that specializes in immigration cases.
One of the less commonly known types, a nurse paralegal is a marriage between the legal and medical professions. Nurse paralegals assist attorneys with cases involving assaults, death, bodily injuries, and illnesses. As a nurse paralegal, you will need to have a medical background such as medical assisting or as the title suggests, nursing. You will become knowledgeable about medical record management, medical terminology, and research involving medical matters. Many who pursue careers as nurse paralegals go on to become a legal nurse consultant (LNC).