7 Industries That Employ Paralegals Outside of the Law Office
The paralegal field offers a variety of employers, specialties, and positions and may hold the ideal opportunity for your career goals. A paralegal certificate is very versatile and can be used to obtain employment in several areas of the business world outside of the law office. These areas can offer similar, fulfilling features like the traditional role, and can even provide a more enhanced career path in some cases!
Even though being a paralegal can be demanding, the field also offers challenges that can be very rewarding. Go beyond just learning how to become a paralegal! Here are seven areas that employ paralegals outside of the law office.
Corporations across the country are seeking paralegals with a wide variety of skills. Corporate paralegals need to know the laws and regulations that apply to incorporation, boards of directors, contracts, product licensing, taxes and human resources. In a corporate position, paralegals often work with companies from other states and even other countries. Consequently, this role requires an excellent knowledge of federal, state and county forms for corporations and partnerships, in addition to filing procedures.
Real Estate and Title Insurance Paralegals
Title companies and real estate firms often have their own in-house legal departments and paralegals are essential parts of these teams. These paralegals need to know about the various aspects and stages of real estate transactions in both residential and commercial real estate. They often draft original sales contracts, prepare files for closings, conduct lien searches, order and review appraisal reports and environmental surveys, prepare title insurance policies, review title commitments and clear title exceptions. They also deal with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and non-RESPA settlement statements, preparation of sellers’ documentation, loan documentation and preparation of closing binders.
Helping put together real estate transactions may seem routine, but the various kinds of deals that are put together are as different as the buyers and sellers themselves. Assembling the pieces of a successful transaction in a timely manner takes specialized knowledge, attention to detail and good people skills for those times when a buyer or seller is stressed.
Public Defender Paralegals
Individuals interested in criminal law and protecting the rights of the accused may find satisfaction in working in the offices of state public defenders. Public defender paralegals need a working knowledge of procedural law in the criminal system, penal codes, legal research and forms.
In helping public defenders put together their cases, these paralegals complete forms and prepare legal correspondence, legal pleadings, summonses, pre-trial agreements, motions and responses. They may aid in putting together evidence charts, maintaining case files and arranging the proper documents, including ensuring that subpoenas get to witnesses.
These paralegals need to be able to communicate effectively with lawyers, judges, clerks, investigators, clients, law enforcement and forensic experts. It is a dynamic area of the law in which a paralegal can build a career.
Paralegals Within NGOs
By their very nature, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are oriented to specific missions and goals. A skilled paralegal who has an area of special interest is bound to find a like-minded organization. For example, the Red Cross helps people with health issues and in times of disaster, and Save the Children helps children around the world through shelter, food, immunizations and other needed assistance.
Paralegals working for these organizations need to know how government regulations affect the work that the NGO is doing. They need to be familiar with laws that can be used to further the cause, so that the right actions can be filed properly. Their work could involve pleading for a temporary injunction to prevent the building of a dam that may irreparably damage a canyon environment and endangered species. These are high-stakes, high-profile cases.
No matter which NGO a paralegal works for, it is bound to be a challenging yet rewarding experience.
Paralegals in the judicial environment can work in several different roles. Some work for judges, where they help with legal research and may even help draft aspects of decisions. This is an excellent position for a paralegal who has possible aspirations of applying to law school.
Every department and agency in the government has a need of legal services and most of them need paralegals. The District of Columbia has the highest employment rate of paralegals in the country. Additionally, it’s not just the federal government that employs paralegals, it’s also state and local governments.
Individuals who find employment as government paralegals will find that they need a solid working knowledge of the area of law in which their specific agency specializes. For example, they may need to be familiar with HUD, as mentioned earlier, or with insurance regulations, such as Obamacare. Admittedly, this can be a legal minefield, but these regulatory and other government agencies are another area to consider when planning your paralegal career and looking for jobs.
Nurse paralegals are relatively new, but increasingly in demand. Insurance companies, medical companies and hospitals all have a need for specialized legal support. Because of high medical costs, insurance companies and hospitals want to minimize litigation. Nurses who become paralegals are a valued asset for these companies, since they begin with the medical knowledge and can better understand the unique problems of the medical field.
While planning your paralegal career you have choices, whether you want to work for personal fulfillment, money or both. The permutations of these areas add even more possibilities to the list of where a paralegal can work, what areas of the law they can specialize in and how you define personal success.
No matter what path you choose to take, Blackstone Career Institute’s online paralegal program can help prepare you for your career as a paralegal. Blackstone Career Institute’s faculty and staff provide you with advice, guidance, and support through your paralegal training