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gettingby said in November 30th, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I don’t think you will have an easy time finding a job, unfortunately. Most law firms want about 2 years of experience, so most people start out as clerks, secretaries, etc. The firms in my area will not hire without at least 2-3 years. More and more firms are asking for an ABA-approved education, meaning they want an Associates degree in Paralegal Studies or if a person already has a BA, the firms want to see the BA and a paralegal certificate from an approved school. Experience is the most important, however.

I would suggest you start looking for an entry-level job in a law firm. In order to have a lot more job opportunities, you will need the approved Paralegal Associates.

This is not to say you won’t ever get a job. A firm may give you a chance, but without an actual paralegal education, you will be limited in job opportunities. Just be aware that there are a lot of people looking for paralegal jobs, and if they have the experience and education, they will be at the head of the crowd. If you do manage to get hired, and you like the field, you will have to get an approved Associates. You do NOT need a BA; it will make you stand out, but the Associates in Paralegal Studies plus the experience is what you must have for most jobs.

I just dropped out of a paralegal program. I have a BA in a liberal arts area, high honors, etc. I was in an approved program to get my certificate. My school also has the Associates in Paralegal. I left because after talking with a lot of people, I realized that I would have an impossible time finding work. There are tons of law firms near me,. but despite trying, I could not find an entry-level job. There was no way I was going to invest 2 years and over 5K and not be able to find work. In my class, there were 5 paralegals who have no degrees. They got their jobs through experience. They want the degree now to be able to move on to other jobs. There were 4 of us with BAs, one with a criminal justice BA, and none of us could get hired because we have no experience. There were several people with Associates in Criminal Justice who were also unable to find jobs without the Paralegal degree. That shows you how important experience is combined with the degree.

I wish you luck!

[BUMP] Coming July '09 said in December 3rd, 2009 at 6:27 am

Sorry…but no. You need either years of law office experience or at least a 2 year degree (in paralegal studies) AND 1-2 years of law office experience.

Just look at local postings for paralegal positions and see what requirements firms in your area are asking for. You may be surprised by how difficult it is to find a paralegal job without at least 3 years of paralegal experience.