Thursday, May 7, 2009

Listserv Answer: What else can you do with a paralegal degree?

I follow three national paralegal listservs: LAT-Forum, ParalegalGateway and Paralegals. (See "Favorite Paralegal Sites" at the sidebar for listserv links.) Being a part of the listservs helps me feel connected to other paralegals all over the country. I also learn a lot from other paralegals’ answers. I view the few minutes a day it takes to skim posts as an ongoing continuing education opportunity.

Sometimes I post a short answer directly to the listserv, but every once in a while, someone posts a question which requires a more in-depth response, and maybe even a little research – off the day job clock. Hmmm…when to respond? Voila! A new blog entry topic for Practical Paralegalism is born: "Listserv Answer".

Finding a job is a key topic among listserv members these days, especially for new graduates with little to no experience. Not only are there fewer paralegal job openings, but there are more experienced candidates vying for the same lower level jobs – candidates who might not have applied a year ago. These veterans will even consider salary reductions. Employers are in the “catbird seat” in that they have to invest little training by hiring an experienced paralegal they might previously not have been able to afford.

That’s the reality for most professions in America today: fewer jobs and more competition for them. But that doesn’t change the fact that many paralegal graduates have invested considerable time and expense in their degrees, and have received a quality education which will well prepare them for any job which requires an articulate problem-solver, creative thinker and multi-tasker.

So, what else can you do with the paralegal degree? Here are some related jobs (and links to some informative paralegal career websites) that applicants who have paralegal training and/or experience might consider:

Administrative Assistant
Arbitrator
Bar association administrator
Billing professional
Claims adjuster, administrator, appraiser, examiner and investigator
Compliance and enforcement inspector
Compliance officer
Computer consultant
Conflicts analyst or specialist
Contracts administrator
Corporate trainer
Corrections officer
Court clerk
Court interpreter
Court reporter
Design/developer of trial visual aids
Editor for a legal or business publisher
Equal employment opportunity specialist
Evidence technician
Fingerprint technician
Grant writer
Investigator
Judicial assistant
Jury consultant
Law librarian
Law clerk
Legal analyst
Legal secretary
Legal software representative
Legislative analyst
Loan closing coordinator
Loan interviewer and clerk
Mortgage processor
Municipal clerk
Occupational health and safety specialist and technician
Paralegal instructor
Parole officer
Patent database administrator
Probation officer
Real estate agent, broker or assistant
Risk management technician
Securities analyst
Securities compliance officer
Small business owner
Tax Preparer
Technical Writer
Title examiner, abstractor and researcher
Title insurance administrative assistant
Trial court coordinator
Trust officer
Victim or witness advocate for county district attorney's office or U.S. Attorney's office
Virtual Assistant

The good news is that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the paralegal profession is expected to grow at a rate “much faster than the rate for all occupations.” In the interim, working for several years at one of the other kinds of jobs listed above can "beef up" a “baby resume” and give paralegal graduates the transferable skills they need to transition to a job labeled “paralegal” or “legal assistant” in a few years – or to discover the related dream career they never thought of when they entered a paralegal program.

Got a related job not on this list? Send me the title and I'll update the list. Comments or email are welcome.



12 comments:

  1. Great post! I've actually been thinking about doing something else once I finish up my paralegal degree that will utilze the skills I've learned. Thank you so much for posting this! You've given me a lot of great ideas!

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  2. Excellent and timely post. I would like to transition out of my paralegal career into a related field - and I will, someday.

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  3. Thanks to both of you for the positive feedback on this post. A paralegal degree prepares a graduate for so many jobs, because a strong legal curriculum teaches students how to think AND write.

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  4. Thank you for this great information! I'm a paralegal student, and I've sent this post to the head of my school's Paralegal Division because I think this info would be a great supplement to his Introduction to Law and the Legal Profession class. It's such a helpful resource!

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  5. Thanks, Diana -- I appreciate both the positive feedback AND your forwarding this post to the head of your paralegal program! I update this post every time I find a new related job title, so check back in. :)

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  6. Excellent post, Lynne! It's a tough market out there and nice to know there are other options for those of us with a Paralegal Degree.
    Thanks!

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  7. How about "contracts administrator"?

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  8. Thanks, Ivy, I added it to the list :)

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  9. You can't be a law librian with a paralegal certficate. You need a Masters of Science in Library Science degree at minimum. You can be a Library Assistant though.

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  10. Thank you for this. I graduate in 10 months and have found it difficult to find any entry level position. I felt stuck, almost went into the military.

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  11. I guess it boils down to one point, it is not as hard as ever to obtain an associates degree online.

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  12. When was this article updated last?

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