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Amongst occupations in the US in top demand with great employment prospects, Paralegals and Legal Assistants are always ranked in the top few. After all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates an increase of about 18 percent in jobs for Paralegals and Legal Assistants between 2010 and 2020. But if you plan to pursue this career path in the Washington DC area, your prospects are even brighter. Contrary to being looked down upon, you will actually shine with a degree in paralegal studies in Washington DC. Here’s why.
Today’s legal environment is a fast-paced one, and to enhance the efficiency of legal services, more and more paralegals and legal assistants will be required. The BLS estimates that there were 12,430 jobs for Paralegals and Legal Assistants in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metropolitan area. In fact, it is estimated that there are about 40,000 lawyers in the District of Columbia alone, with about 2-3 paralegals for each lawyer. Needless to say, the demand for paralegals in Washington DC is quite high.
Contrary to what anyone might say about Paralegals and Legal Assistants only handling clerical work, the job duties of people in this field are quite diverse, challenging and very interesting. At times, paralegals and legal assistants investigate the facts of a case; at other times, they conduct research on laws and regulations, while they also help out lawyers during trials. So the work is not just about organizing files and drafting documents; it’s a rather exciting field of work that is actually looked up to by many in the US these days.
With the minimal entry-level education required for becoming a Paralegal or Legal Assistant being an associate’s degree, you can jumpstart you paralegal career with an online degree as well. Besides courses such as Legal Research, Family Law, Civil Litigation, Paralegal Ethics, Corporate Law, etc., one also acquires many useful skills as part of their online paralegal degree. Some of the important skills learnt during the course of studies include research skills, organizational skills, communication skills, computer skills and interpersonal skills.
The average annual salary of Paralegals and Legal Assistants in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metropolitan area is $63,560 per year. This is much higher than the national average of $49,960 per year, making Washington DC a great area for paralegals to work in. One can work for law firms and federal organizations, such as the Department of the Treasury, in Washington DC, enjoying great working environments.
One can go for many careers with online degrees in Washington DC, but getting into this field with an online degree in paralegal studies can be a great choice because of the bright salary and employment growth prospects, let alone something to be looked down upon.