Becoming a Paralegal

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Comments (3)

Packer fan in Cambridge, Massachusetts

48 months ago

I'm a recent college graduate where I earned a bachelors in Poli Sci and Econ. I want to go to law school, but finances are slowing me down right now. I also want to make sure its something I want to do before I spend the money on it. I've heard from several lawyers I've talked to that I should do paralegal work first.

Is being a paralegal a good way to determine if I want to become an attorney? Is paralegal work hard to find?

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Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

48 months ago

Yes, at least where I live, paralegal work is hard to find. It's hard to find even for experienced paralegals.

The recession caused firms to downsize. Firms shed many well qualified and highly talented legal staff. Even attorneys weren't spared. Those that remained had to change their ways. Old-school attorneys, who were accustomed to having legal secretary and paralegal support, had to learn how to do more with less - and IMO came to like it because it cut expenses. In the meantime, so many paralegals, who depend on attorneys for work, were left out in the cold.

Finally, if you have your heart set on becoming an attorney you can forego paralegal and go directly to law school. IMO you don't need the extra student loan debt. Before you decide how to proceed, research attorney hiring. You may find that attorneys, and especially fresh ones, are not finding jobs. In the meantime they have as much as $100K+ in student loan debt staring them in the face.

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BG in Carlsbad, California

48 months ago

Many lawyers and law firms are being replaced by legal software, outsourcing and inexpensive internet based legal services.

Even law school grads from top tier schools can't land a job, therefore, it isn't a good investment in this market or worth going in debt for. If you have to do it, go the least expensive route and look for an affordable distance learning accredited law school like Concord in California. They use a live web conferencing format, so students interact in real time.

You would fly in to California after the first year to take the baby bar. If successful, you would continue until awarded your JD. You'd then fly in to sit the California Bar exam.

As a licensed California lawyer you could practice before federal courts. You could also practice before the U.S. Distict Court in Mass and represent internationally clients in federal suits. You could also appear before state courts on a pro hac vice basis. Once you gain experience, you would then come in "on motion" to sit the State bar in Mass. Another Concord Law grad successfully argued his case before the SJC in Mass to sit the bar and passed on his first try.

Go the least expensive route if you are absolutely set on being a lawyer. You'll be hanging up a solo shingle anyway, so all that matters is your determination and law license.

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