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Herkimer County Community College

Become a paralegal specialist at Herkimer County Community College

Paralegals carry out work that does not require the legal qualification of an attorney, such as preparing documents, legal writing, legal research and preparing cases for court. The Paralegal program enables students to become familiar with legal concepts, and to use legal vocabulary in the preparation of documents. They will also become familiar with the legal process by means of legal research using computerized databases and the extensive law library of the college, and also through the analysis of actual cases. Class projects used to enable students to develop their skills include drafting legal documents, and internships in real offices allow students to put everything they have learned in the classroom into practice in real situations. This is regarded by most as the culminating experience of the entire program.

Skill Requirements: Potential legal assistants require high quality skills in writing, reading and communication, and a good paralegal needs to have an analytical and inquiring mind with a personality focused on detail.

Nature of the Work: A paralegal will undertake a variety of different tasks when supporting attorneys, and are a very important part of a law office. Legal assistants carry out court document drafting and research, and help in trial preparation through client interviews, case, case investigation, and organizing and tracking litigation. They also assist in real estate closure, corporate meetings and in the preparation of tax returns. In fact, they can carry out in any of the mostly substantive work of a law office not requiring the legal qualifications of an attorney. Attention to detail and precision are essential qualities, and potential employment situations include law firms, government departments, . courts, and the legal departments of banks, insurance firms and corporations.

Job Outlook: It is said in the 2004-05 Government Occupational Outlook Handbook that employment in the paralegal field is expected to grow more rapidly than that for any other occupation through 2012. Most of this growth will be in corporate legal departments, private law offices, banks, insurance companies, real estate and other corporate legal departments. It is also indicated that an increasing number of paralegals will be setting up their own businesses.

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