Choosing where to work as a paralegal
A paralegal-to-be is exposed to different areas of law during their studies including: criminal, civil and property law. These units and others like them are compulsory units of a Certificate IV and Diploma. Choosing where to work is daunting and these courses at least cover the bases to prepare students for the challenge they’re about to take on.
So many to choose, so little time
The above areas only offer a taste of what types of law are out there. In Australia, there’s dozens. Just to name a few:
- Science and technology
Hundreds of firms around Australia have their own ‘niche’ where they practice. Some of the bigger offices will have several types of law under their umbrella, from compensation to wills and probate.
What about me?
How do you choose? During your Diploma, you learnt various skills that can take you into plenty of practices. It depends on what you’re passionate about. A paralegal works long hours in an environment where everything should get done right the first time. You need to enjoy what you do and where you work, otherwise the discontent can set in very quickly.
This work is done for ‘the public good’, as the translation goes. Legal aid and pro bono work is offered to people from disadvantaged backgrounds who can’t afford to pay legal fees.
Some people who work in law have good hearts and want to help those less fortunate. Firms might offer volunteer leave. Major charities might have one lawyer who they pay full time, but the paralegals and legal assistants often work as volunteers. This is a great area to get some work experience and make a genuine difference to someone in need at the same time.
Where do you see yourself?
Paralegal pathways often lead back to school and further study of the law. Therefore, it’s good to give serious thought to the area of law you want to work in. Family law, social justice, and some charity work is ideal for those who want to make a difference in the community. Paralegals who want to advance as prosecutors should work in criminal law. Those wanting to save the planet would take interest in environmental law.