Life of a Paralegal: Myth vs. Fact
In an economy where many industries are downsizing, the paralegal field is breaking the mold and continues to grow. With tens of thousands of lawyers in Los Angeles, most of whom have between 3 or 4 paralegals each, demand for quality paralegals is high. At Fremont College, we want to make sure you’re prepared for work in the real-world. In addition, we want to help you decipher fact from fiction when it comes to the paralegal profession.
Myth: Everything will be just like an episode of Law & Order
Fact: No, it won’t. Sure, some cases will be more interesting than others, but unless you work for a major firm or the District Attorney in a major city, most of the cases won’t even be covered on the local news. There are so many different types of law that some paralegals may never even see a courtroom, at least not the kind on TV. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of legal cases aren’t criminal; most deal with matters such as real estate, divorce, property rights, social security, or personal injury claims. But while it may not be as glamorous as Hollywood makes it out to be, some can certainly be very exciting, and others can simply be rewarding.
Myth: People without a law degree can only answer phones and push paperwork in a law firm
Fact: Yeah right! Paralegals are a vital part of every law practice. Without paralegals, there is no way attorneys would be able to handle the immense workload required on a daily basis. Paralegals do basically everything attorneys do, except take a case to court. From research to interviewing clients, paralegals are present in every step of the legal process.
Myth: Paralegals have to memorize statutes and laws
Fact: Lawyers that have studied countless hours for the Bar exam and have practiced law for many years don’t even have statutes and laws memorized. There’s just no possible way to cram the endless amounts of information into one brain. Instead, it’s more efficient to learn how to research well. The internet and law libraries are an invaluable source of information on the tons of laws and statutes that exist in our country. Learning how to effectively and efficiently conduct research is much more valuable, and reliable, than memorization alone.
Myth: Paralegals practically do the same thing as lawyers, so you may as well go to law school and earn the big bucks
Fact: There is a plus side and a down side to every profession. As a paralegal, you will be performing many of the same tasks as the attorneys, but you won’t make as much money as them. It may seem unfair, but let’s look at it this way. As a paralegal, you cannot advise or represent a client. So because of that you don’t have to pay malpractice insurance. That’s a ton of money that licensed attorneys do have to pay. When you look at it from a quality of life perspective, paralegals have it better in that sense too. Attorneys often face tremendous loads of stress, late nights, early mornings, odd hours, and their health and social lives are affected by it. A paralegal may have the occasional late night, but for the most part they work normal hours and have plenty of time to spend with friends and family outside of the office. Plus, they make a pretty decent living too!
Paralegal careers will always be in demand and are a rewarding career choice for those who want to pursue a job in the legal world. If you’re ready to jump into a career as a Paralegal, check out Fremont College of Legal Studies. Fremont College offers an ABA-approved Paralegal Studies program, and is one of only 28 ABA-approved Paralegal Schools in California. In addition, you can earn a Paralegal associate’s degree in just 15 months. Don’t wait – apply for our paralegal degree program today!
Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.