Litigation paralegals are responsible for assisting attorneys during the litigation process. They are generally expected to assist in pre-claim investigations, drafting legal documents, maintaining indexes and organizing case files and will perform any other tasks as assigned by the attorney they work with. They may also work directly with clients by interviewing and taking formal statements for use in court. A paralegal's work continues from the start of a trial through the conclusion, settlement and appeals process. Specific duties will vary depending on the size of the law firm and the number of paralegals within the firm. Paralegals are also commonly referred to as legal assistants and may qualify for open legal secretary positions.
Litigation Paralegal Education Requirements
No formal degree, outside of a high school diploma or GED certificate, is typically required to become a litigation paralegal. However, at least a paralegal certificate is recommended to better the chances of obtaining a position with a law firm. Paralegal certificates and associate degrees are offered at many community college and trade schools across the United States. Litigation paralegals with a certification from a professional organization, such as the National Association of Legal Assistants, might have an edge over the competition. To obtain these certifications, candidates will need to qualify for and pass a national paralegal examination.
Litigation Paralegal Job Market
From 2012 to 2022, the job outlook for paralegals, including litigation paralegals, is expected to rise approximately 17 percent, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Employment opportunities are projected to be best for paralegals with strong computer and database management skills as case work and legal research have largely moved to a digital format.
Litigation Paralegal Salary
The median annual salary for litigation paralegal jobs is $46,990 per year. Paralegal salaries vary widely based on factors such as years of experience, educational background and the location and the type of law firm worked for.