School of Criminal Justice
Legal Studies Career Links
The continued growth and complexity of the law, the demand for affordable, quality legal services, and computer technology have created an increased demand for legal assistants. Legal assistants are employed by law firms, corporations, federal, state, and local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Legal assistants may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as provided by law.
Corporate employers include banks, insurance, real estate, retail, and manufacturing companies. Government agencies employing legal assistants include district attorney, public defender, attorney general, and legal aid offices. Federal and state government agencies hire legal assistants to work in areas such as agriculture, civil rights, consumer affairs, criminal law, education, environmental law, health, labor, natural resources, taxation and transportation.
Regardless of the employer, legal assistants typically work in one or two specialty areas. Examples include civil litigation, criminal law, business, labor and employment, real estate, environmental law, probate and estate planning, family law, intellectual property, employee benefits, or bankruptcy. Some legal assistants have used their education and experience to enter other law-related careers, such as legal administration, arbitration, mediation, computer consulting, sales, or law school.
One of the best ways to learn more about careers in the field of law is to visit web sites of organizations for attorneys and paralegals. The State Bar of Michigan maintains a comprehensive page with links to national and state organizations for attorneys. In addition, there a number of organizations for paralegals which provide excellent resources covering salaries, typical job duties, and overall career opportunities within the paralegal field. The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Assistants also provides excellent career information on its web site.
Page last modified February 16, 2010