Make it Legal in Georgia: Paralegal Training in the Peach State
One of the country's fastest growing, and most exciting career fields is law. But you don't need to attend three years of law school. Paralegals are increasingly taking on more responsibility, and commanding respectable salaries.
The nation's reliance on lawyers keeps growing every year. Between increasing amounts of litigation, and the development of new specializations like environmental, intellectual property and malpractice law, lawyers are being retained by clients both public and private, and by individuals and corporations.
The cost of retaining lawyers is increasing, too, so many clients now hire paralegals to reduce costs. Meanwhile, lawyers who are finding themselves stretched thin are relying heavily on paralegals for support. The result, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) points out, is that paralegal jobs will grow much faster than average through 2014.
What is a Paralegal?
A paralegal's responsibility varies, depending on the client, the law firm, and the field of specialization. Also called legal assistants, paralegals help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials or corporate meetings. They do this by investigating facts, researching laws or legal documents, and helping to prepare case reports. They organize and maintain files, and in some cases, they may even interview witnesses. Paralegals may even draft contracts, mortgages, or trusts. And since the law has become more complex and specialized in recent years, paralegals often find themselves specializing, too.
Paralegal Training in Georgia
According to the BLS, "formally trained paralegals should have the best employment opportunities." Paralegal training comes in two- or four-year programs, or for those who already hold degrees, certificate programs are a great alternative.
Paralegal training introduces students to the legal applications of computers, and performing legal research online. Students learn the workings of civil and business litigation, contracts, real estate, bankruptcy and criminal law, as well as the intricacies of the legal system and various legal documents. Upon graduation, students are ready to work in law firms, corporate legal departments, community legal service programs, or law school. The median salary -- including bonuses -- for paralegals in 2004 was $39,130.
But in Georgia, the median expected salary for a paralegal is higher than this national average. For example, in Atlanta, the average is around $42,000, and in Savannah, the average is close to $40,000. Plus, Georgia's property taxes and real estate costs are low, which means you can afford a great quality of life. Georgia contains mountains and a coastline, making for abundant recreational opportunities. And when it comes to arts, culture and a thriving urban environment, Atlanta's got it in spades.
So get started on your paralegal career today, and look at what Georgia has to offer.