Where you can work as a paralegal
After completing your course in legal services, you might wonder where to go from there. Despite the title, not all paralegals work in a legal office. The areas where a paralegal can work varies and there are some industries you won’t expect to find one.
Large firms and businesses will have their own legal department. Each paralegal who work there is well-versed in company policy. On television, when you hear the phrase “corporate take-over”, the businesses’ legal team is involved when ownership changes hands. The paralegals write up corporate leases, employment agreements and organise important documents. They even check on trademarking to see if the name the new owners want is available after an acquisition.
Real estate isn’t the first place people would think of when working in legal but the market is quite large. When someone signs a lease agreement for example, it’s probably a paralegal who wrote it. Paralegals work alongside lawyers in property disputes, foreclosures and can even work with landlords having problems with tenants. A Diploma in Legal Services has a unit covering property law, and some students find work experience in this area.
Banks will have their own legal teams, and paralegals will make visits to the offices. They’re responsible for writing up contracts for the services the bank’s offer. They also write up meeting minutes, acquisition documents (when clients or companies buy a business), file loan papers and more. The bank clerks don’t have this kind of power. Paralegals handle all sorts of sensitive records and are required to have excellent organizational skills. The last thing anyone wants is for a mortgage repayment or contract to get “lost”.
This is a great area to get involved in for people who are passionate about giving back. Non-profit groups aim to help those who “have no voice”, and this help sometimes includes legal services. Paralegals with full-time work find the time to volunteer for a cause they care for. There’s work in homeless advocacy and domestic violence among others. Students studying a Diploma in Legal Services can apply what they’ve learned in these situations. They’d have studied civil procedure, touched on criminal law and how to nurture relationships.