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Legal Line of Work: Different Careers in the Legal Field

Working in the legal field can be quite exciting, but people oftentimes see it as an area with limited career opportunities. Most people think you either become a paralegal, a secretary at a law firm, a lawyer, or a judge later on. While it’s true that these are core or mainstream careers in the field, there are actually other jobs in the legal field that one can enter into. So we’ll be tackling both the mainstream and other lesser known yet essential career opportunities in the legal field:

Lawyers

Lawyers come in different names — attorneys, counselors, solicitors, barristers— but they have one general goal: to advocate and defend their clients’ rights. There are, of course, many other fields in law that lawyers can focus on such as family law, criminal law and industrial law, but they all gear towards representing their clients. Lawyers themselves have many career opportunities in private firms, corporations, as public defenders, and such, but it does take a considerable number of years of study and passing the gruelling bar exam. Lawyers can later on become judges and oversee criminal and civil trials. That said, deciding whether or not to be a lawyer shouldn’t be something you decide on lightly.

Paralegals

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Paralegals assist lawyers, that’s basically the job description. They organize reports, draft legal documents, do research, and even schedule meetings. The paralegal line of work can also be quite exciting and there are many job opportunities for those who have paralegal degrees and certificates in and outside law firms. There are those who transition from paralegal to studying and advancing further to become a lawyer. If you’re curious as to how long does it take to get a paralegal certificate or degree as compared to becoming a lawyer, it’s significantly shorter — ranging from 2 to 4 years, depending on the type of degree (associate or bachelor’s) and certification, and you wouldn’t have to undergo taking the bar.

Legal Secretary

Legal secretaries or administrative assistants more or less have similar responsibilities as paralegals, however, they focus more on secretarial duties such as file maintenance, correspondence, and contacting clients of court dates and meetings. Paralegals and legal secretaries are both referred to as legal assistants. One could take legal secretarial programs in community colleges and even private career schools and often take around 2 years to finish, and one can get certified through the National Association for Legal Professionals after passing a four-hour examination.

Compliance Specialist

A compliance specialist, as the name suggests, implements and oversees compliance to laws and policies. They ensure that companies and other legal entities adhere to laws in their industry. This career requires a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in regulatory compliance, then undergo certification.

Court Messenger

A court messenger or legal courier does exactly what you’d think, they pick up and delivery oftentimes sensitive documents and even evidence to courts and attorneys. Those who wish to be court messenger need to have at least a High School Diploma and have good interpersonal and file organization skills.

Conclusion

There are many other lesser-known but essential jobs in the legal field. Knowing these different career opportunities (and that there are more) would help broaden your knowledge as to which job you’d want to enter in the field of law. For those having second doubts of becoming a lawyer or entering a career in the legal field as a whole, some of the careers here can let you dip your toes into the legal field and help you decide. And for those who are simply looking for a job in the legal field, you’d definitely want to check out these career opportunities as you might actually fit the description.

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