Paralegals support lawyers by maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting legal documents.
How to Write a Summary for a Paralegal
- Mention your previous experience. Do you have any background or knowledge in the legal system? Were you on your college’s mock trial team? Did you take college courses in criminal justice or legal studies?
- Describe your greatest strength. Are you a strong writer? Do you love conducting research?
- Explain what you’re eager to accomplish in the next stage of your career. Are you looking to work for a family lawyer? What about on the criminal side of court proceedings? Are you passionate about defending children, helping families, or giving those accused a strong defense?
How to List Your Work Experience as a Paralegal
- Use reverse chronological format. List your most recent jobs first, as this shows managers how you’ve gained experience in the industry.
- Use action verbs related to being a Paralegal. Verbs are critical to demonstrating what you can do for the company. Review the following list for some powerful examples.
See our list of over 350 action verbs to find more.
Senior Level Work Experience as a Paralegal
- Reviewed estate planning documents such as Wills and Trusts
- Conducted legal research for cases and clients
- Prepared documents for Guardianship proceedings to include guardianship appointments and termination
- Drafted e-file complaints, subpoenas, motions, pleadings, discovery, and responses
- Calculated and managed deadlines
- Scheduled hearings, depositions, mediations, and trials
- Prepared exhibits and litigation binders
- Assisted attorney in trial preparation and attended trials as needed
- Organized and maintained electronic case files within the firm’s case management system
- Requested medical records for case files
- Reviewed and informed attorneys on recently published federal and state-specific regulatory legislation and policies
- Managed policy deliverables and workload tracking, including providing project management support in generation of regulatory comments, filings, and submissions
- Monitored policy meetings, apparent-related activities and reports, relevant policies and regulations
- Participated in certain policy cross-functional meetings including minutes and action items
- Provided strategic logistical support for managing policy calendars and deliverables
- Developed and manage internal and external policy publications
- Managed regulatory conferences and inform internal stakeholders
- Drafted briefs, summaries, whitepapers, etc. summarizing research findings and policy implications
- Assisted defense team in filing legal documents in court and ensure that materials are delivered to the court, opposing counsel, and any other interested, relevant, and required third party
- Conducted legal research with online research tools, such as Lexis and Nexis
- Prepared written summaries of research, and drafted motions
- Assisted defense team with maintaining and updating the team's electronic library, including the preservation of SharePoint files in an organized, up-to-date, and efficient manner; the creation of new folders; and the memorialization of all case-related information
Junior Level Work Experience as a Paralegal
- Assisted all levels in the development of criminal litigation, beginning at the investigation level to filing pleadings with the court
- Worked closely with attorneys in the preparation and filing of court documents
- Organized case documents, conducted first-level document review, and coordinated document productions
- Conducted various document searches using document management databases such as Relativity
- Prepared for interviews, depositions, and hearings
- Conducted extensive and thorough research in a variety of legal and non-legal databases and provided information in response to a wide range of questions
- Prepared and organized evidence, discovery and trial exhibits, such as statistical charts, graphs, and maps, to be presented in court
- Prepared a variety of substantive legal documents for use in Federal courts and administrative agencies
- Analyzed incoming issues, questions and requests for action to determine whether a matter requires the attention of the General Counsel or other Office of General Counsel staff
- Maintained a suspense log of all requests for action (e.g. court dockets, litigation calendars, tickler systems, and suspense systems)
- Established, organized, and maintained paper and electronic files
- Developed courses of action and recommended solutions based on research and analysis of a variety of legal subjects
- Performed office automation duties including word process and data management of legal documents, staffing papers, spreadsheets, and other memoranda and correspondence
- Developed and entered various case material into a computer database
How to List Your Skills as a Paralegal
Paralegals need to be able to write documents and to communicate effectively with a variety of people. As a result, you should list a variety of “soft skills” on your resume:
- Research Skills
- Writing Skills
- Computer Skills
How to List Your Education as a Paralegal
Paralegals require at least an associate’s degree, though some companies prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Since few institutions offer degrees specifically in paralegal studies, paralegals will typically have a bachelor’s degree in another subject and then earn a certificate in paralegal studies from a paralegal education program approved by the American Bar Association.
It is important to note that a certificate or license is optional, as most paralegals learn while on the job. However, certifications can help your resume stand out as it demonstrates you have knowledge about the legal system. Examples of certificates include:
Requirements for licensure vary by state but generally involve the following:
- An Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree
- Paralegal Certification (optional, but recommended)
- Complete a background check
Paralegal Career Overview
The job outlook for Paralegals is growing at 12% per year, which is considered to be much faster than average. In 2018 there were 325,700 jobs available.
Paralegals make $51,740 per year on average. However, salaries could be as high as $82,500 depending on experience, industry, and location.
Top Paying Salaries by State
- $82,010 -- District of Columbia
- $62,250 -- Colorado
- $61,810 -- California
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