According to the US Bureau of Statistics, the demand for paralegals will grow by 15% through 2020. This astonishing growth is spurred on by a burgeoning population which requires legal services. Most of the newly trained paralegals will be employed by private law firms. Many employers are also taking in paralegals in a bid to cut operational costs and improve efficiency. The following is a look at how to become a paralegal in Michigan.
The work of a paralegal involves helping lawyers to carry out research in preparation for trials, hearings, and meetings. As a legal assistant, you will be expected to investigate facts as well as probe legal and judicial precedents which might have any bearing on the case at hand. In addition, your job description could extend to monitoring any review of laws, keeping track of legal files, and preparing written reports based on the above information. However, it is important to note that paralegals cannot represent clients in court or settle legal fees. The scope of work done by paralegals is not limited to working in law firms alone. You can find jobs in corporate organizations and governments institutions. The nature of work may vary depending on experience.
It goes without saying that strong computer skills are a necessary prerequisite for successful legal assistants. You will regularly be using software to store and retrieve legal information from databases to be able do this job. Most law firms also use software for billing, tracking of cases, and the analysis of tax-related legal matters. Paralegals also need to have good communication and research skills. These skills will enable you to draft legal documents with minimal or no errors at all. Organization is a key factor in maintaining readily available information.
Training And Education Requirements In Michigan
There are several avenues that you can take on your way to becoming a paralegal. One way of achieving this goal is you can start by enrolling for a two year Associates degree program in paralegal studies. However, if you already have earned a bachelor’s degree, then you should enroll in a paralegal certificate program. Finally, you could opt to receive the paralegal training from your employer. There is no legal requirement for paralegals to be certified, but certification might improve your chances of beating your competition in the job market. The most prominent certification bodies include the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) which offers the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA). You can get the Registered Paralegal (RP) certification from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
It is important to note that the core responsibilities of a paralegal revolve around assisting lawyers accomplish successful outcomes in their professional undertakings. The constantly changing legal landscape requires individuals who are ready to take the challenge of continuous education. In addition, the pursuit of certification will help you get a good grasp of legal matters and add to your employer’s pool of legal expertise.
Considering all of the above, it seems like a great opportunity to be a paralegal in Michigan.