I realize this thread is very old now but maybe someone can still help me. I'm an undergrad approaching my senior year and thinking about becoming either a certified paralegal or a lawyer. The only thing deterring me from becoming a lawyer is the number of hours they work. My impression is that attorneys spend an inordinate amount of time working, and I'd rather have a healthy work-life balance. (I do not want to be one of those people whose work IS their life.) Do paralegals work significantly less than lawyers?
Also, does anyone have any tips for becoming a paralegal? What should I look for in a paralegal education? I'm currently looking at the paralegal diploma offered by NYU, but the curriculum doesn't appear to include an internship. How important are internships? Any other tips?
Any and all advice is appreciated.
(EDIT: I just realized this board was for high school students. Sorry about that, but I'll leave this post up here anyway.)
you dont need a certificate to be a paralegal, just apply. Countless firms hire tons of college grads every year. that being said it sounds like the worst, most mindless job ever. Go to law school and just don't work for a huge firm if you are concerned with hours.
I couldn't agree more. It really has everything to do with the type of firm you work for and the type of legal work you are going to be doing. My friend is a paralegal for a law firm that sues inaulation companies for asbestos-related illnesses. His firm basically does no real work because every company in that industry knows not to take any lawsuits to court because they know they'll lose due to the taboo of the subject. Basically, all he does it write out the paperwork for settlements and find new potential asbestos victims from lists of workers, contractors, and people that have been exposed or have been likely to have been exposed to asbestos in certain buildings and show signs of illnesses related to exposure.
Basically, it is simple and easy money for the law firm. They barely do any real tough work. Every company knows them and basically have trust funds setup for such settlements, which pay a set amount of money to the firm and to the victims. Money in the bank. Now, he tells me he likes the people, but he finds the work boring and repetitive but pretty simple to understand and do. Nothing that technical, but there are days when he is doing a ton of laborious and monotonous work. Consequently, he is applying to various law schools. He already took the LSAT, but he's not exactly sure if he is going to go because he is deep in debt and has other immediate opportunities.
That's another thing you need to think about. With being a paralegal, you only have to go to undergrad. To become a lawyer, you have to go to law school and spend that extra $100 grand or more and waste a few years of not making any money, which if you already have student loans will set you back even more. Think about what you want to do and the current position you are in and whether you want to deal with huge debt if that is something you know would be in your future if you went to law school.