6 Popular Paralegal Specialties that Could Help Win the Case
You’re convinced that your love of research, ability to multitask and attention to detail will bode you well in your new career as a paralegal. But you don’t want to be just another face at the firm – you want to make an impression!
You want to be seen as a valuable asset from your first day on the job, and that means specializing. Concentrating on a precise area of focus could be the key to making you more marketable as a paralegal. It’s also a great way to land a corporate legal position rather than working at a firm.
But which paralegal specialties are worth pursuing? That’s the million dollar question. We used the 2016 Robert Half Legal Salary Guide to identify six in-demand paralegal specialties worth considering as you begin your career. One of these could be the perfect combination of your skills and interests that will make you a coveted member of your future legal team or company!
6 In-demand paralegal specialties worth pursuing
Paralegals in most industries share common job duties, like conducting research and preparing legal documents. But the paralegal specialty you choose can make a big difference in the rest of your day-to-day workload.
Familiarize yourself with these popular paralegal specialties to find the one that’s right for you.
1. Corporate law
Corporate paralegals work in their company’s legal department with a team of other legal professionals. Many of their job duties will include routine administrative work, such as preparing contracts and reviewing documents. Paralegals working in corporate law can also expect to attend plenty of meetings, and may end up working on a corporate litigation case.
Many corporate legal departments are expanding their teams in an effort to reduce spending on outside counsel, according to Robert Half Legal. Companies will always need paralegals to keep their legal ducks in a row, so this specialty isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’d prefer working in a traditional office setting rather than a law firm, becoming a corporate paralegal could be your next career move.
Compliance law deals with a set of standard procedures that help businesses stay within the bounds of governing laws, regulations and their own codes of ethics. These paralegals must possess an in-depth knowledge of relevant regulations as they help companies comply with laws that are constantly changing.
Robert Half Legal reports that “demand is steady” for paralegals who can help their company stay on top of ever-changing laws and regulations. Compliance can be a big issue for companies and most would rather hire a knowledgeable paralegal now than violate a regulation down the road.
If you’re a fan of doing the research to stay on top of fluctuating regulations, this paralegal specialty is one to look into.
3. Contract administration
Contract administrators, or contract managers, are responsible for writing, reviewing and analyzing contracts. They may also be expected to negotiate contract terms and ensure that contracts are adhered to by both parties going forward, according to the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Demand for contract managers, contract administrators and corporate paralegals is growing, according to Robert Half Legal. Since contracts are present in nearly every industry, these paralegals could find themselves working for law firms, government departments or educational institutions in addition to corporations.
If you’re known for your attention to detail and stellar negotiation skills, working as a contract administrator could be the paralegal specialty for you.
Paralegals in the healthcare industry work to assist attorneys in cases related to the medical field, such as malpractice lawsuits or workers’ compensation claims. They study relevant medical records and may interview parties involved in either side of the claim.
It’s no secret that the healthcare field is expanding, so there is higher demand for related legal services. Healthcare paralegals may work for attorneys, insurance companies or businesses, and they’re particularly in demand if they have previous experience in a medical field.
If you have a background in healthcare or have always enjoyed the medical industry, this paralegal specialty is one you’ll want to consider.
5. Intellectual property
Intellectual property (IP) paralegals help companies protect their intangible assets, such as manuscripts, designs or inventions. IP paralegals know the ins and outs of trademark, patent and copyright law, and they help companies obtain legal protection for their work. They also research existing trademarks and copyrights, and may be involved in helping defend their company’s intellectual property if rights are violated.
Associates and paralegals with intellectual property expertise are needed by law firms and companies, and often command above-market salaries, according to Robert Half Legal. Businesses spend an extensive amount of time and money developing their unique intellectual property and they’re more than willing to employ IP paralegals to protect their assets.
If you’re interested in copyright and patent law, this is one paralegal specialty you don’t want to miss.
6. Real estate
Real estate paralegals assist in preparing and reviewing documents related to residential or commercial real estate transactions. They’re responsible for knowing their state’s real estate laws and working with sellers, buyers and attorneys to facilitate leases, sales, foreclosures and closing documents.
They may also research property surveys and titles and resolve zoning issues. With the housing market on the upswing, real estate paralegals continue to be in demand, reports Robert Half Legal.
If you’re fascinated by the world of real estate, this paralegal specialty could be right up your alley!
Which paralegal specialty is right for you?
Now that you have an idea of the in-demand paralegal specialties that are out there waiting for you, you can make a plan to pursue a career that’s a great fit for you.
Even the best careers come with a few surprises. Read up on what you can really expect as a paralegal in What I Wish I Knew BEFORE Becoming a Paralegal.
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*Paralegal specialties were identified using the Robert Half 2016 Legal Salary Guide.