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Paralegal degree worth the time?
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andy Offline
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Paralegal degree worth the time?
I live in the immediate Chicago area, and I'm considering getting a bachelors degree in paralegal studies. I'm considering one, as one of the universities has offered a considerable sum, of financial aid to me ($20k total, in grants and scholarships). Any thoughts?
11-02-2015 02:32 PM
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Disco_Volante Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
from what I've read, paralegals have better job prospects than lawyers these days.
11-02-2015 02:55 PM
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WestIndianArchie
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
In my opinion, no. Those jobs are often given to liberal arts majors who are thinking about law school. In other words, no degree other than a degree in "something" is required.

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11-02-2015 08:11 PM
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WestIndianArchie Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
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(This post was last modified: 02-12-2016 07:25 PM by WestIndianArchie.)
11-02-2015 08:46 PM
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lavidaloca Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
I realize your American but in Canada paralegals can represent clients in small claims court. Some of them work for themselves and charge a day rate for trials / pleadings etc...and do dozens of small claims court trials a year. I'm not sure what they end up making but I'd enjoy doing that.

My guess is they charge something like $500 / day. They aren't getting rich but they are getting to have some fun.
11-02-2015 09:24 PM
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RexImperator Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
If you want to get a somewhat vocational type degree, and engineering or programming is not your thing, I would suggest looking into Accounting. You'll have the option of working for yourself, and if you decide to get some securities licenses later on you could also become a financial advisor.

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et Thybrim multo spumantem sanguine cerno
11-03-2015 11:44 AM
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Sonoma Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
It's pretty low pay here in California, like 40k or even less, and you're just someone's bitch. I knew a paralegal who worked at See's because the pay was basically the same but she didn't have to work unpaid overtime like she did as a paralegal
11-05-2015 09:39 AM
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Nowak Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
Anything law related, a big NO. The whole field and all related has been so flooded with graduates that lawyers themselves with become paralegals out of desperation.
11-06-2015 06:57 AM
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WestIndianArchie Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
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(This post was last modified: 02-12-2016 07:25 PM by WestIndianArchie.)
11-06-2015 07:16 AM
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Suits Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
(11-02-2015 09:24 PM)lavidaloca Wrote:  I realize your American but in Canada paralegals can represent clients in small claims court. Some of them work for themselves and charge a day rate for trials / pleadings etc...and do dozens of small claims court trials a year. I'm not sure what they end up making but I'd enjoy doing that.

My guess is they charge something like $500 / day. They aren't getting rich but they are getting to have some fun.

I've got a friend in Ontario who is a paralegal (and also a bouncer, believe it or not) who was hired by the province to represent them in court in provincial law cases.

I'm not sure exactly what these cases consisted of (never asked), but he seemed to enjoy it, although he moved into teaching law at a post-secondary institution shortly after, so I think he stopped taking cases.
(This post was last modified: 11-06-2015 07:48 AM by Suits.)
11-06-2015 07:46 AM
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Merenguero Offline
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RE: Paralegal degree worth the time?
(11-06-2015 07:16 AM)WestIndianArchie Wrote:  
(11-06-2015 06:57 AM)Nowak Wrote:  Anything law related, a big NO. The whole field and all related has been so flooded with graduates that lawyers themselves with become paralegals out of desperation.

It's not just desperation, it's
- lack of knowledge on how to generate clients themselves
- fear of being an untrained person with a live client

And this is the result of Law Schools teaching people with the case method.

For most lawyers, they research a lot of law when they learn a new area, or a new wrinkle in their area. It's really not a big part of what you do day to day, criminal or civil, trial or transactional.

But research and issue spotting is what law school teaches.

Writing, maybe a distant 3rd.

- Very few law schools teach you how to drum up clients.
- How to screen clients
- How to get the money out of them before you start doing work
- How to do the actual factual discovery of a case
- How to prepare the paperwork required for the case in your particular jurisdiction
- How to talk to a client, and persuade them that your advice is what's necessary
- How to settle, plea bargain, negotiate, "game" the other side.

You'd think 3 years and $XX,XXX of dollar, a student would come out ready to hit the ground running - but you have to be a hyper aware student to figure out what classes and what specific professors have that sort of knowledge and can impart it.

Most of my profs would write papers, or maybe appear in appellate court. Most clerked, did maybe a year at a big firm...very few of the lawyers I learned anything from put up a shingle and pounded the pavement.

Last time I made a Law and Economics analysis was in law school.

Getting a liable defendant to break off a chunk for a client though? I could have used a couple semesters of that. So much of law is sales, convincing clients that you're worth X, and convincing prosecutors or the other side of the table that your claim is just/worth the money.

If law schools were to equip risk averse students with the skills to fend for themselves,
- There would be no more lawyer turned paralegal
- The price of consumer law would go way down
- Justice for average people would go way up
- The work that Big Firm and Government attorneys have would go way up

I don't know if the system would get more efficient, but there'd be a lot more people eating and lot more justice.

Instead, the system makes approval seeking good students more risk averse and doesn't equip them with practical business skills- that in turn creates a mass of kids that can only be employees.

Legal thinking take at most 18 months, to go from a layperson to someone that thinks like a lawyer. But the other 18 months needs to turn a layperson into someone that thinks like a business man.

WIA

This is a really accurate post. I don't know if it was the school I went to or the problem was me, but I had absolutely no clue what was going on the whole first year of law school. I was close to the bottom of my class after the first year. I didn't fail anything or even really come close, but I really, really struggled. Second and third year, I did really well and actually won some awards for my performance, but pretty much everyone does well second and third year. I only know of one person from my class who flunked out. There was this other guy with a heavy southern accent who always used to find me and start talking about surfing, who I stopped seeing after first year. I know he was having problems with some classes, so I think he might also have flunked out. I think if before first year, someone would have explained to me to just buy outlines for all the first-year subjects, learn that stuff like the back of your hand, do no work in your classes, and work on your exam writing, I would and could have aced first year. And most law professors either never practiced or wouldn't be able to. WIA nailed that part.
(This post was last modified: 11-06-2015 04:09 PM by Merenguero.)
11-06-2015 04:08 PM
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