There is a high chance for a successful career as a paralegal in Oregon. A paralegal is a professional that performs non-clerical, substantive legal work under the administration of an attorney-at-law. Most paralegals complete a paralegal degree in order to be hired or have had extensive formal training and work experience in the legal field. With the many law firms in Oregon, the prospects for job openings for paralegals and legal assistants are quite favorable. The demand for paralegals is expected to climb higher with more and more companies wanting to reduce overhead expenses by hiring paralegals to handle a legal paperwork instead of lawyers.
Job Duties of a Paralegal
A paralegal is tasked with researching judicial decisions, laws, and other articles that are related to a case. He or she is tasked to prepare these documents in an organized manner so that it is ready when needed by the lawyer. Other duties include written reports, drafting contracts, legal memoranda, and other legal documents. In most cases, paralegals are also required to assist the lawyer in a courtroom. When not doing these jobs, a paralegal may also be required to perform executive tasks such as answering phones, filing reports, coordinating office activities, and organizing office files. In short, paralegals can perform tasks related to legal matters but which do not require a legal license. Although it can be observed that paralegals often handle the work of executive secretaries, they differ in that they have a more in-depth and technical knowledge of the law that administrative assistants may not have.
Educational Requirements in Oregon
You can get a job as a paralegal in Oregon as long as you have a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, a paralegal certificate, or a bachelor’s degree in any unrelated course with additional hours for legal specialty courses. Meeting moral requirements is also important. You cannot practice as a paralegal if you have been previously been convicted of a crime, or must not have been suspended or barred from practicing law. Finally, you need to take a paralegal exam in order to get your paralegal license, which is required by the state. You can also join a professional organization once you have received your license, although most firms and government offices in the state do not require membership to official paralegal organizations from their applicants.
Find Work as a Paralegal in Oregon
You can find various ad postings for paralegal positions in various agencies in Oregon, such as paralegal posts in private law firms or government agencies. Check out the state paralegal association, which can lead you to links of paralegal job openings. You can also try local classifieds in the newspaper or online local job message boards to see the newest postings for paralegal positions in the area.
Typical Day for a Paralegal in Oregon
A typical day for a paralegal starts at nine in the morning and ends at five in the afternoon. Most paralegals come in earlier than most lawyers do since they are tasked with preparing the documents for the day. Some may also be tasked with opening the office and preparing the office for the day’s clients.
A paralegal is more than an executive secretary. Paralegals must think on their feet, should have excellent communication skills, and know how to deal personally with clients. They are also required to possess numerous skills that are essential in gathering data that the lawyers need right away. This means that they need to be adept in legal research, which is the most important part of their jobs.