August 20, 2021

How to Get a Job as a Paralegal

By B&SC Blog Team

How to Get a Job as a Paralegal

Successful paralegals are people who have a passion for the legal field – criminal, divorce, family, estate, or contract law – but prefer not to give legal advice. They love to perform research, complete forms, and keep records. They enjoy working in the back office and providing support. If that sounds good to you, read on to learn all about paralegals and how to get a job as one.

Paralegals and legal assistants support lawyers/attorneys by doing the following in their daily work:

  • Search, locate, and use information from legal texts, court decisions, and databases.
  • Conduct legal research alongside the attorney.
  • Draft and prepare a variety of legal documents, including correspondence, memos, working papers, and pleadings.
  • Learn, understand, and use general office and legal specific technology applications to prepare, sort, and archive documents and records.
  • Understand and comply with ethical standards expected of a paralegal.
  • Personal Job satisfaction comes from completing important work driven by deadline and accuracy requirements.

If the above Interests you, a paralegal might be the right career fit! Follow the steps below to start your journey to becoming a paralegal.

Steps to Becoming a Paralegal

1. Complete your studies

While the requirements for becoming a paralegal can vary depending on where you live and what kind of work you want to do, the first step is almost always earning a degree or certificate as a paralegal. The associate paralegal program at Bryant & Stratton can significantly enhance your ability to acquire the best jobs and prepare you for a wide variety of paralegal opportunities. Certificates approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) as well as bachelor’s degrees in a related field are sought after by some students.

2. Prepare a quality resume

Paralegals are expected to help draft important legal documents. A resume with typographical errors may cause a prospective employer to doubt your capacity to do this without making critical errors, so be sure to create a one-page resume without typos.

3. Post your resume on job search sites

Some of these sites may include Monster, CareerBuilder, and Indeed, as well as networking sites, such as Biznik. There are also job sites specifically for paralegals including the Institute for Paralegal Education Career Center.

Hiring agencies regularly search the profiles of job seekers to fill available paralegal positions. Make sure your resume includes important keywords that these agencies might search for. If you have a degree, make sure to include the phrase ‘degree in paralegal studies’ as this is a term for which hiring agencies are likely to search.

4. Network with professionals

Attending talks or other learning events sponsored by local bar associations or other legal services can give you the opportunity to meet and network with legal professionals. Start networking in the legal field via social media or through career advisors to spread the word of your interest and to identify prospective employers. Popular websites for job networking include LinkedIn and Facebook. Join online groups or follow pages related to your area of interest to find potential contacts.

5. Join professional associations

Local paralegal associations are great places to network with other paralegals and hear about potential job opportunities, such as National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and The American Alliance of Paralegals.

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations is another resource that features a career center with job postings and helpful information on becoming a paralegal. The American Alliance of Paralegals distributes job information to its members from prospective employers. The National Association of Legal Assistants site features an online networking section where you can meet and compare notes with others in your field.

6. Approach law firms in your area

Finding areas where you want to work and approaching them with a brief cover letter emphasizing the skills and abilities that match their needs may spark conversations that could lead to future career opportunities. Include your resume and a letter of recommendation from one of your paralegal studies instructors.

7. Find paralegal internships

Begin looking for internship opportunities through professional associations, online or by word of mouth. Law firms and non-profits do not generally advertise Paralegal Internships heavily. Such openings are more likely found listed by local paralegal professional associations, job sites, or through websites like While some internships are paid, many are not. However, the experience is invaluable and provides a “foot-in-the-door” in many cases.

8. Begin applying for entry level paralegal jobs

When you begin applying for these positions, do not underestimate the expectations of the professional world when you land an interview. Do the following to make a good impression:

  • Arrive early for an interview and hold a friendly discussion with the receptionist.
  • Dress simply but conservatively. Reduce the visual distractions of too much jewelry, piercings, extreme hairdos, or loud clothes.
  • Reduce your makeup, perfumes, or cologne.
  • Interviews depend on eye contact; don’t let your nails or accessories distract.
  • Carry a portfolio or folder for your resume.
  • Practice your handshake and sitting forward.
  • Develop and answer to the request, “Tell me something about yourself.” That answer should summarize your skills and abilities not your personal life.

A career as a paralegal helps people fulfill their career dreams of becoming a semi-professional. CNN Money lists Paralegal among its top 20 job opportunities for those who want to make money or change their career, and Business Week lists it as #23 among Public Service Jobs.

Paralegal FAQs

Is it hard to find a job as a Paralegal?

Finding a job as a paralegal can prove to be challenging, but If you have the proper training, experience, and skills, you will be a strong candidate to employers. Networking with others throughout this process and landing an internship will prove to be very beneficial so you can gain professional experience in the field.

How do you get hired as a Paralegal?

First, complete your studies and gain the credentials employers are looking for by completing a certificate program, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. This will open some entry-level positions at law firms. If you are having trouble landing a job as a paralegal, expand your search to include positions for legal assistants, legal secretaries, file clerks, or even runners. Getting your foot in the door at a law firm or agency can help you work your way up to a paralegal position.

Are Paralegals in high demand?

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an increase in demand for paralegals of 10% by 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Fully educated Paralegals can earn more income and prestige as they move into Legal Assistant positions offering legal services to groups and organizations that do not want to budget a lawyer.

Is Paralegal a good career path?

Paralegals benefit from a sense of professionalism in and out of the office, the benefits of solid and productive employment, and participation in a larger community. If you are a detail-oriented individual who is organized and computer savvy, this might be the right career fit for you.

What Is the difference between a legal assistant and a paralegal?

The terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant” are used synonymously in this field. They both assist attorneys conduct legal research and draft important legal documents for trial. However, both of these terms should not be confused with legal secretaries, who are responsible for more administrative tasks such as filing, recordkeeping, and assembling files for courts.

Start Your Paralegal Journey Today

If you are looking to pursue a degree, look no further than Bryant & Stratton College. With professors who have years of real-world experience why look any further? Get more information about our paralegal studies associate degree today!

Related News