Paralegal employment is expected to grow 18% in the next decade, about average for the US job market.
This demand is spurred by a number of factors. For one, legal action is becoming more requested as businesses and individuals become more conscious of the need to protect property, especially in the areas of intellectual property, international law, criminal law, and environmental law.
In addition, with the declining economy, employers are trying to reduce costs by increasingly giving paralegals more and more responsibility. Thus, demand for trained paralegals is growing as employers hire them to perform tasks that were once done by lawyers.
Where is the demand?
The largest demand for trained paralegals is coming from private law firms, and they are expected to continue this demand. Law firms employed 70% of the 256,000 paralegals working in 2012.
Other organizations, especially corporate legal departments, are expected to increase their hiring of paralegals as they try to cut costs. The most demand is expected to be for paralegals who specialize in areas such as bankruptcy, medical malpractice, real estate and product liability.
Paralegals certified by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPl), and the National Federation of Paralegal Association (NFPA) will have an advantage in the work force. Learn more about paralegal certification.
(Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.)