Choose the Right Legal Education for Your Career Dreams

Choose the Right Legal Career

By Amanda Daflos

Offering Law Degrees:

To Be or Not to Be a Lawyer

If you are interested in working as an attorney, you will be required to complete the traditional legal degree, the Juris Doctorate. Once you have completed the degree, which should take three years of full-time study, you will be required to take the bar examination in order to practice as an attorney. Keep in mind that each state has its own exam; therefore it is generally a good idea to complete your schooling in the place you plan to practice, so that your education covers a portion of what will appear on the exam.

The World of Legal Administration

If you hope to work in the legal world but don't want to work as an attorney, there are many other career choices that will enable you to work in the sector. As a paralegal, a legal assistant, or a legal secretary, you will be required to complete a degree that trains you to handle the nature of the legal work you will encounter. While these careers are administrative in nature, training is rigorous because of the capacity and complexity of work you will handle. Training can generally be completed in less than three years of full-time study.

Where to Go to Get the Goods

There are many schools that offer online learning programs that will help you to achieve the degree you choose. Possible qualifications include a degree in legal administration, Associate of Science in Criminal Justice with specializations in Corrections, Probation and Parole and Law Enforcement, Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration degree program . Online schools are proud of the fine quality and convenience of their distance learning programs, which enable students to earn their degree while they work and maintain their regular ways of living.

What Kind of Classes Will I Need to Take?

As a student working towards the traditional legal degree in order to work as an attorney, classes range from property law and contract law all the way to ethics classes. You will spend your time acquiring the skills you will need to work as a lawyer. As a student working towards a degree in paralegal studies, you will take classes geared towards teaching you important legal points while improving your research and analytical skills. Legal secretaries learn how to deal with formatting issues and legal document organization and management.

What Kinds of Jobs are Available?

Depending on the career path you choose, you will be qualified to work in that particular capacity in law firms, corporate law departments, and government agencies. Depending on what area you choose to focus on, for instance environmental law or immigration law, you will be able to work for firms that specialize in that area.

What Can I Expect My Salary to Be?

According to the US Department of Labor (2002), $90,300 was the median salary for lawyers. Recent college grads were expected to make an estimated $60,000. Paralegal salaries depend on education, training, experience, type and size of employer, and geographic location of the job. In general, paralegals who work for large law firms or in large metropolitan areas earn more than those who work for smaller firms or in less populated regions (U.S. Department of Labor). The average salary for legal assistants and paralegal assistants in the year 2002 was $38,000, and for legal secretaries, $35,000.

If your heart is set on a legal career, make sure you understand the all the options before enrolling. After that, an online program could be the way forward to a future in the career of your dreams.

U.S. Department of Labor

About the Author

Amanda Daflos is the Founder and President of Aleigh Productions, a marketing and public relations consulting firm based in Boulder , Colorado which specializes in work with non-profit organizations and initiatives as well as small businesses and corporations that work in the outdoors. Academically trained at Hamilton College in Clinton , New York and headed to Columbia University in New York City this fall to complete a master's degree in public administration, Amanda works closely with individuals and corporations to bring about change in the way they do business and make profit.

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