Male professor with books in the background

The Paralegal Profession: Beyond Law Firms

When people talk about paralegals, they often picture out professionals who work closely with lawyers in private law firms as their assistants and even secretaries to some degree. It’s true that many paralegals opt to work with private law firms as they oftentimes pay a lot, and a lot of paralegals actually proceed to become lawyers and working in private law firms is a way to earn money, learn from seasoned lawyers, and maybe even be sponsored by their law firms should they decide to proceed with getting a law degree to become a lawyer as well.

However, many people feel that it’s restrictive to only have a job opportunity with private law firms, but in truth, those with paralegal degrees or certificates can actually explore careers beyond private law firms. As such, we’ll be taking a look at the many other industries and offices a paralegal can work in apart from private law firms:

Corporations: Corporate Paralegals

If you wish to work in a big corporation and get their benefits, you can work as a paralegal in a corporation’s legal department. Corporate paralegals oftentimes collaborate with other parts of a corporation’s operations such as tax, financing, human resources with legal documents and other legal compliances. These paralegals have paper-heavy jobs, focusing more on preparing many legal documents across different aspects of the operations and intensive review of legal documents from all over the corporation.

Non-Profit Organizations

For those who wish to have a career in a more philanthropic and humanitarian field, a paralegal can work with NGOs to provide legal services. Many NGOs pick paralegals for preparation of legal documents and other legal aid (apart from court representation which can only be done by lawyers) as paralegals are more affordable to retain than lawyers and only hire lawyers when necessary. Paralegals in NGOs oftentimes work with NGOs assisting economically marginalized people, victims of domestic violence, as well as environmental issues.

Man signing piece of paper

Education: Training and Teaching

If you have a flair in teaching, and you think you have enough experience as a paralegal, you can proceed with training and teaching other paralegals. If you’re a certified paralegal, you’ll be able to work as a degree program professor. This is a perfect choice for those who wish to take a break from dealing with the paperwork and the strict demands of lawyers and their law firms.

Government: Public Defender Paralegals

Paralegals with certifications can work in many government agencies, functioning as a legal assistant to lawyers working in those agencies such as The Department of Justice, Treasury Department, and Labor Department. You can also be a judicial paralegal, and work with judges in legal research and drafting documents and decisions for them.

Nursing Paralegals

This is a new yet on-demand job. As you know, insurance companies, as well as other organizations and institutions in the health sector, also require legal support. Nursing paralegals are nursing professionals that have undergone further education, training, and certification as paralegals in order to both medical and legal expertise, allowing them to better understand and tackle unique legal issues in the field of medicine and health care.

Conclusion

For paralegals, and those that are yet aspiring to be ones, it’s always good to know that there are many other jobs you can take apart from being in a private law firm; having the knowledge that you have other options can make you feel restricted in your professional life. And for those paralegals who wish to further their degree, you can specialize in a specific area of law, undergo official certification, and even study paralegal technology in order to be more appealing when applying in other industries.