Some paralegals mistakenly believe that the only way they can advance in their careers is to become an attorney. Becoming an attorney is not always the next rung on the career ladder for every paralegal. Although, both professions share some similarities the skill set that is needed to be a successful paralegal is not the same set of skills that is needed in order to be a successful attorney. Most practice areas require attorneys to attend court hearings and/or trials and the use of great oratory skills, presentation skills, as well as other characteristics that allow them to persuade others is a must for them to be effective. A paralegal may be excellent at drafting motions, pleadings, and other legal documents, but may not have the best oral communication skills. Being an excellent communicator does not mean that a person can communicate equally well in writing and orally.
In some circumstances a paralegal may be a better fit for another career within the legal industry. With the changing legal landscape a paralegal that is looking to grow within the legal field may choose to work in another career in the legal industry and if pay is a motivating factor can earn just as much as some attorneys make.
Following are just a few examples of careers that a paralegal can easily transition into and the expected salary range for each one:
Becoming a legal administrator is a great option for paralegals who are self starters, motivated, and possess the ability to lead teams. A legal administrator handles a variety of functions for law firms including financial management, human resources, marketing, as well as other aspects of a law firm's operations.
According to the Association of Legal Administrators a legal administrator should have the following skills and abilities:
Transitioning into the eDiscovery career from a paralegal career can be an easy transition for paralegals that are technologically savvy. The technology explosion necessitates the use of specialized professionals that understand technology as well as legal processes and procedures. In this episode of The ESI Report, Michele Lange interviews Joe Edlund and Matt Samet, two e-discovery case managers from Kroll Ontrack about the role of the eDiscovery Case Manager. Learn more about the eDiscovery Case Manager career.