I am finishing my AA this semester and have been doing a little research into paralegal certificates, so I'm looking for insight from anyone who is, has been, or knows anyone who works as a paralegal.
So far most of what I hear is that it's a stressful job, pay starts out pretty low and it's hard to work up without a lot of experience and/or a bachelors, and that the well-paid paralegals are highly specialized. Also another thing I keep hearing is that it's hard to find a job where you're appreciated and respected by the attorney/boss. Although I've also heard some people say they really like the work.
I would be going into this with just the certificate (and an associate of art). I have very little experience in much of anything, and certainly no experience in the legal field. But I'm meticulous, fairly good at research, and a pretty good writer when I want to be.
So what I'm wondering is exactly how much research and writing is actually involved? How do you get experience in any sort of specialized area when it seems like most of those jobs already require experience of some sort? Most importantly, how much stress do you bring home from work at the end of the day? Anything else I should consider before investing in the certificate??
Single student mama to dd 5/04 and ds 11/07.
A paralegal certificate is no longer enough in many states so you might not find your skills are portable.
I only have experience in an urban market at top level law firm. The paralegals are highly valued, well compensated, and well paid. They work long hours with unpredictable schedules. It would be really hard to balance the hours with children if you are the primary caregiver. None of these thing might be true in a different market.
Our paralegals don't do a lot of research or drafting. They manage paper flow, manage people, and organize complex matters. Initial research is handled by the associates. The research librarians assist in the complex research.