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Summary Report for:
23-2011.00 - Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, or researching legal precedent. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.

Sample of reported job titles: Certified Paralegal, Immigration Paralegal, Law Clerk, Legal Analyst, Legal Assistant, Legal Clerk, Paralegal, Paralegal Specialist, Real Estate Paralegal, Summer Law Associate

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Prepare affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Prepare for trial by performing tasks such as organizing exhibits. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts, and real estate closing statements. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Meet with clients and other professionals to discuss details of case. See more occupations related to this task.
  • File pleadings with court clerk. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions, and legal articles, codes, and documents. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Call upon witnesses to testify at hearing. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Investigate facts and law of cases and search pertinent sources, such as public records, to determine causes of action and to prepare cases. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Direct and coordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Keep and monitor legal volumes to ensure that law library is up-to-date. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Appraise and inventory real and personal property for estate planning. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Arbitrate disputes between parties and assist in the real estate closing process, such as by reviewing title searches. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Desktop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Notebook computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Optical character recognition systems — Optical character recognition equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Photocopiers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanners — Image scanners See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Analytical or scientific software — a la mode WinTOTAL; LexisNexis CourtLink Strategic Profiles; Uniscribe software; Wilson's Computer Applications RealEasy Appraisals (see all 9 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Categorization or classification software — Bowne JFS Litigator's Notebook; LiveNote software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Customer relationship management CRM software — Software Technology PracticeMaster; Thomson West ProLaw See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Bridgeway eCounsel; LexisNexis CodeMaster; Microsoft Access; Relational database software (see all 10 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Desktop publishing software — Blumberg Drafting Libaries; Digital Contracts software; ProForce Paralegal Pro-Pack; Sure Will Writer * (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software; LexisNexis HotDocs; PDF Snake Easy Bates; Summation Blaze (see all 16 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • File versioning software — Zylab ZyImage See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Information retrieval or search software — American LegalNet USCourtForms; Fastcase; Thomson West FindLaw; Westlaw Real Property Deed Images (see all 16 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Library software — Computer access catalog software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Optical character reader OCR or scanning software — Optical character recognition OCR software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Pattern design software — CaseSoft TimeMap See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Transaction server software — Tumbleweed SecureTransport See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Corel WordPerfect software; Legal MacPac software; LexisNexis CheckCite; Microsoft Word (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.

* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.

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Knowledge

  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Prepare legal documents. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Research relevant legal materials to aid decision making. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Arbitrate disputes between parties to resolve legal conflicts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluate information related to legal matters in public or personal records. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain the order of legal documents. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Meet with individuals involved in legal processes to provide information and clarify issues. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Confer with court staff to clarify information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Represent the interests of clients in legal proceedings. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coordinate legal schedules or activities. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Letters and Memos — 90% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 87% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Electronic Mail — 90% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 90% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 91% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 70% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 52% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 67% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 50% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 48% responded “More than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 47% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 42% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 45% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 48% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 36% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 41% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 41% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error — 40% responded “Extremely serious.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 37% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 31% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
44   Bachelor's degree
30   Associate's degree
12   Some college, no degree

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: CIE

  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $23.24 hourly, $48,350 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 277,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Faster than average (15% to 21%) Faster than average (15% to 21%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 91,200
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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