The Advantages To Earning An Online Legal Assistant Degree
Legal assistants are often considered the “lifeblood” of most legal offices or firms and many businesses or organizations. There are no minimum educational requirements for employment as a legal assistant though obtaining an associates or bachelor degree in the field guarantees employability and job security. As many individuals balance work or family responsibilities in addition to pursuing their educational goals, most colleges and universities offer online degree programs. Most online degree programs provide students with virtually the same educational experiences as their traditional, brick and mortar counterparts. Online courses generally consist of groups of 25 students with 24 hour access to course materials, instruction, and information. Online courses also provide students with one on one interactions with instructors and other students through Internet chats. Students enrolled within online degree programs often find an added amount of flexibility in course scheduling allowing students one of the most convenient paths to propelling personal, educational, and professional goals.
What Students Learn Within An Online Legal Assistant Degree Program
Students enrolled within an online legal assistant degree program learn the skills and knowledge necessary for future professional success. Courses at a bachelor level degree include: introduction to law: tort and personal injury; contracts; legal research, writing and civil litigation; professional responsibility and legal ethics; criminal law; real property’ business law and bankruptcy; principles of accounting; international business, American government; microeconomics; business writing; principles of finance; principles of marketing; principles of marketing; management of information systems; wills, trusts, and estates; domestic relations; constitutional law and criminal procedure; alternative dispute resolution; patents, trademarks and copyrights; federal income taxation; employment law; environment law; immigration law; laws of evidence; administrative law; public communications law; white collar crime; advanced legal analysis and writing; advanced civil litigation; drafting contracts and contract provisions; legal document preparation.
Graduates from an associate’s degree program may advance to entry level employment or bachelor degree programs. Courses include: introduction to paralegal studies; English composition; structures of mathematics; legal research and writing; civil practice and procedures; real property law; fundamentals of speech; information, technology, and society; introduction to sociology; interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and alternative dispute resolution; advanced legal writing and analysis; legal ethics; income taxation of individuals; principles of banking; constitutional law; and law office administration and management.
Graduates from a bachelor degree degree program may advance to employment or master’s degree programs. Master’s level courses include: American jurisprudence; legal research and writing; litigation; corporations and contracts law; administrative law; government contracts law; elements of intellectual property law; prosecution and litigation in intellectual property law; international trade and finance; international litigation; independent research; introduction to the legal system; civil and criminal procedure; general legal procedures; public law and administrative procedures; employment law; health care law; law office management; nonprofit legal issues; law and the business environment; law, computers, and the Internet; supervising legal research and writing; and advanced legal research and writing computerized legal research. Graduates who obtain a master’s degree receive specialized training necessary for employment as supervisors. Others advance to doctoral degree programs in a related field like law, criminal justice, or criminal administration.
Prospective Jobs For Graduates With Legal Assistant Degrees
Graduates who obtain a legal assistant degree gain a solid educational experience necessary for professional success. As legal assistants and paralegals are vital to law offices, law firms, and many businesses, jobs for individuals who obtain degrees are expected to be plentiful. Additionally, a degree generally guarantees an added amount of job security. Graduates who obtain an associate’s degree often advance to entry level legal assistant jobs within law firms or offices, working closely with more experienced professionals and lawyers researching, analyzing, and preparing cases, legal documents, and other contracts. Graduates who obtain a bachelor’s degree often find employment within law offices, law firms, businesses, and other organizations preparing cases, files, legal documents, and other contracts. They also research, verify, and analyzing information pertaining to court hearings, trials, and business meetings. Graduates who obtain a master’s degree are generally qualified as experts within the field and may advance to supervisory positions within corporations, law firms, and law offices. They may also advance to doctoral degree programs to pursue a degree in law or a related field.
Salary Range For Graduates With Legal Assistant Degrees
Earnings for graduates with legal assistant degrees vary tremendously. Salaries for graduates with legal assistant degrees are dependent upon the level of education, related work experience, the type and size of the organization of employment, and geographic location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the median salary for most legal assistants ranges from $36,080 to $59,310 annually. Generally, legal assistants who obtain a degree and work for larger firms or within metropolitan areas have earning greater than those who work in smaller firms and rural areas. Legal assistants who obtain advanced degrees, continue education, and gain work experience generally have higher earnings than those with lesser training and experience. Additionally, most legal assistants receive bonuses, dental and medical insurance, paid vacation, educational reimbursement, and personal, and sick time.
Career Outlook and Job Advancement Opportunities For Graduates With Legal Assistant Degrees
Graduates who obtain a legal assistant degree gain educational experiences and training necessary to base future career success. Employment for graduates with legal assistant degrees is expected to be competitive and graduates who obtain formal training are expected to have the most plentiful job prospects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects job growth to increase by 28 percent through 2018 at a faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. Factors like an expanding population and changes within the criminal justice system are expected to siginificantly increase the number of jobs available to graduates with legal assistant degrees. Graduates who specialize training in fields like medical malpractice, real estate, bankruptcy, and product liability are expected attract increased employment possibilities.
Graduates who handle legalities like intellectual property, healthcare, international law, elder issues, criminal law, and environmental law are expected to find increased employability. Opportunities for employment may be greatest within community legal services programs, Federal, State, and local governmental agencies, consumer organizations, courtrooms, and law offices. Economic downturns may adversely affect the number of jobs available to legal assistant degree graduates. Advancement for graduates with legal assistant degrees is based upon work experience, educational level, organization of employment, and continuing education programs. As legal assistants gain work experience, they are often given jobs with more responsibility which require significantly less supervision. Many experienced legal assistants work their way up to supervisory positions or advance their education to attract promotions and higher salaries.