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A career as a paralegal has been often talked about as a great growth area in terms of employment. Many who do not wish to become lawyers and attorneys, but still want to be a part of the legal world are looking into this occupation. Even acquiring education for this career has now become easier, with the option of going for an affordable online associate degree in, making the transition smoother for many.
However, like any career, being a paralegal also has its lows. If you are seriously considering starting it off as a paralegal, do consider the following downsides of a paralegal career.
There’s limited room for growth within a job as a paralegal. There are limited opportunities for promotion in most law firms, and the career hierarchy is not too tall. You may transition to an entirely different role altogether, but for that additional education and training may be required.
As a paralegal, all your tasks are related to the legal field, including conducting legal research, maintaining documents, files, case histories, etc. This is nothing easy to do. You have to be very thorough in your work, and there’s minimum room for making mistakes because it’s about law where everything has to be very meticulously handled.
The sensitive and vital nature of the tasks is one aspect. The tasks being dull and routine is another. Just because the job responsibilities are high stress doesn’t mean they will always be very interesting. You may end up doing the same thing for days, or even weeks, as per the needs of your boss and the case you are working on. Be prepared to be filing reports for several days at a stretch if you wish to strike it out as a paralegal.
Work in the legal world is not easy. There are deadlines to meet and gathering documents and research can be quite time-consuming. Paralegals have to be prepared for over 40-hour work weeks, especially on certain crucial days when their firm or attorney may be handling a particular important case. There’s absolutely no room for slacking here since it’s very important to be meticulous and well-prepared in the legal world.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 2010 median pay of $46,680 per year for paralegals. You will likely not be able to cross the six-figure mark as a paralegal. So if money is what drives you around, a career as a paralegal is definitely not your calling.
Despite these challenges, many do very well in this profession because they have realistic expectations and they like the work they do. Make sure you have evaluated and thought about all these aspects if you are thinking of becoming a paralegal.