According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow 17 percent between now and 2022– faster than the average for all occupations. So, despite economic downturns, the paralegal profession continues to grow. Law firms and legal departments are cutting costs and increasing access to legal services by hiring paralegals.
The Paralegal Studies program prepares students for challenging and diverse careers in private law practices and in the law-related areas of business, industry, and government. The goals of the Paralegal Studies program are to enable students, through theoretical and practical legal education, to understand the function of law, to work as paralegals in the effective delivery of legal services, and to contribute to the legal profession. This program is designed to equip students with skills to analyze legal issues and to perform a variety of activities including drafting legal documents, interviewing clients, conducting legal research, and preparing cases for trial. Students utilize current technology through Internet research and legal and general office software applications. Paralegal Studies students receive the necessary legal training to take advantage of new career opportunities in all sectors of the economy. Students are exposed to the principles of legal ethics and are cautioned regarding restrictions against the unauthorized practice of law by laypersons. A paralegal always works under the supervision and direction of an attorney. Even though a paralegal can perform many of the tasks which have otherwise been performed by attorneys, a paralegal may not give legal advice, represent a client in court, or otherwise engage in the practice of law.
Visit NHTI’s Paralegal Studies Department for information on degree and course offerings. The following certificate options are also offered related to Legal Studies: Paralegal Studies and Legal Nurse Consultant.
- Career Paths for This Major
- Skills Developed Through This Major
- Sample Career Titles
- Sample Employers
- Ways to Explore and Reality Test Careers
- How to Increase Employability
- Professional Association Links
- Employment and Internship Links
When you graduate with this major, you will have work options that are varied and that depend upon your specific interests, abilities, work values, and hands on experience in the field. Paralegals can work in small or large law firms. They can work in rural areas or in major metropolitan cities. In larger firms, they could end up in recruitment, marketing, litigation support, and office management. Those who are comfortable with technology can support law offices with database design, e-discovery and more. Paralegals can also target legal specialties of interest supporting attorneys in such areas as real estate, corporate, litigation, family and personal injury law.
- Computer skills
- Conducting research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
- Drafting correspondence, pleadings, and other documents, such as contracts and mortgages
- Getting affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
- Helping lawyers during trials
- Interpersonal skills
- Investigating the facts of a case
- Keeping information related to cases or transactions in computer databases
- Organizational skills
- Organizing and presenting the information
- Research skills
- Speaking and writing skills
- Writing reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
These titles include positions that you may qualify for with this associate’s degree:
|Case Manager||Legal Support Staff|
|Government Paralegal||Loan Document Specialist|
|Law Office File Clerk||Paralegal|
|Legal Administrative Assistant||Real Estate Assistant|
|Legal Administrator||Title Company Closing Agent|
|Legal Document Specialist||Title Examiner|
|Law Office Manager|
|Private and Non-profit Organizations|
|Accounting Firms||Public Service Organizations|
|Insurance Companies Financial Institutions||Real Estate Firms|
|Law Firms||Title Companies|
|Law Schools||Corporate Legal Departments|
|Clerk and Recorder, Clerk of Court||Public Defender's Office|
|County Attorney's Office||Public Health and Human Services|
|Law Enforcement Agencies||Social Security Administration|
|Legal Services||Tribal Agencies|
There are four key ways to explore your favorite career interests…through reading, through speaking with those in the know, through observing and through doing. Use the link(s) below to begin exploring major related careers through ‘reading’. Go to the Exploring Career Interests link to get tips on all four key exploration strategies.
Additional sources of information for this major include:
- NHTI Faculty, Academic Advisors, and Paralegal Department resources.
- Professionals who are working in the field
- Professional Associations (see below)
- Become an active student member of college, community, or professional associations, which helps you build leadership skills and promote connecting (networking) with fellow professionals.
- Obtain quality practical experience prior to graduation through part-time, full-time and summer employment/internship positions related to your targeted field.
- Participate in volunteer and service learning opportunities.
- Join, and become active in, the Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH).
- In many cases, employers prefer candidates who have at least one year of experience in a law firm or other office setting. In addition, a technical understanding of a specific legal specialty can be helpful. For example, a personal-injury law firm may desire a paralegal with a background in nursing or health administration.
Professionals who do work related to this major belong to these associations. You can use the links below to do career research and to connect with local association members. You may also be able to join an association of interest, at a reduced rate, as a student member.
- Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH)
- The American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPIPARA)
- The Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
- National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA)
- National Federation for Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
- Standing Committee on Paralegals, American Bar Association
See below for job posting sites related to this major (including our own home grown NHTI posting site – see first link).
- NHTI Job Posting Site
- Career Center for the NFPA
- Career Center for the NALS
- Classified Ads-NH Bar Association