Deciding on a career choice is a difficult decision to make because it effects your future as a whole. When I departed upon the path to search for my career choice I realized I was presented with many career options and no idea what I wanted to choose but I quickly discovered that I had a fascination with the legal system. As it is this age old system that upholds the laws of our nation and state and enforces those laws to any and every person that breaks them with proper consequences. This fascination stemmed from watching many different shows such as law & order and other criminal shows that discovered crimes, investigated them, found criminals responsible for the crimes, and used the court system to place proper responsibilities and punishments on the correct person or people. I eventually learned that most of those situations were presented by lawyers with the assistance of paralegals. Upon further research into the field of the legal system I learned that paralegal studies was a career I wanted to expand in for my future.
Many people know what a lawyer is and what they do. Most people do not know that behind every successful lawyer is a paralegal, and are unaware of what a paralegal is and what they do. A paralegal is widely known as a legal assistant that aids a Lawyer for many different case situations (Camenson, 2005, p. 59). Paralegals have a wide yet limited range of duties and responsibilities to uphold. They are allowed to perform many responsibilities that a Lawyer does but not all because they are not actually Lawyers and thereby lack a law degree. The duties of a paralegal range from investigating cases, assisting a lawyer with their case by recording any necessary notes or paper work, to handling clients of a case (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014).
There are many steps needed to become a paralegal that allows them to perform the myriad responsibilities placed upon them. The first step in becoming a paralegal is earning an educational degree from a certified college in paralegal studies. The minimum requirement is to at least have an Associate’s Degree to become a paralegal, from there you can pursue a bachelor’s degree, or earn a certification in paralegal studies (Fins, 2005, p. 20-22). The necessities to earn an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or certification are classes in introducing paralegal studies, court case processes, legal investigation and writing, paralegal principles, any classes specific in the different types of paralegals, and general education classes. In some cases a college provides you the opportunity to intern at a law firm or corporation to achieve the experience necessary for your degree or certification. Also, some companies will require job training if the graduate has none, or any experience with the company. After earning a degree or certification in paralegal studies you need to find employment as a paralegal and this can be difficult but not impossible.