Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Fresno, California
Legal assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Fresno, California area. There are currently 24,700 jobs for legal assistants in California and this is projected to grow by 26% to 31,200 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for legal assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 28.1% over the next eight years. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.
Legal assistants earn approximately $26 per hour or $54,800 per year on average in California. Nationally they average about $22 per hour or $46,120 per year. Earnings for legal assistants are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Administration and Support in California and better than general Administration and Support category earnings nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: real estate paralegal, labor and employment certified paralegal, and corporate paralegal.
The Fresno area is home to twenty-four schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Fresno where you can get a degree as a legal assistant. Given that the most common education level for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a legal assistant if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Legal Assistant
In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents. They also conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.
Legal assistants ready affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system. They also ready legal documents and real estate closing statements. Finally, legal assistants meet with clients and other professionals to consider specifics of case.
Every day, legal assistants are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they see details at a very fine level of focus.
It is important for legal assistants to gather and analyze research data, such as statutes and legal articles, codes, and documents. They are often called upon to get ready for trial by performing tasks such as organizing exhibits. They also file pleadings with court clerk. They are sometimes expected to direct and schedule law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas. Somewhat less frequently, legal assistants are also expected to appraise and inventory real and personal property for estate planning.
They also have to be able to investigate facts and law of cases and search pertinent sources and call upon witnesses to testify at hearing. And finally, they sometimes have to ready affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system.
Like many other jobs, legal assistants must be thorough and dependable and believe in cooperation and coordination.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Fresno include:
- Court Reporter. Use verbatim methods and equipment to capture, store, and transcribe pretrial and trial proceedings or other information. Includes stenocaptioners who operate computerized stenographic captioning equipment to provide captions of live or prerecorded broadcasts for hearing-impaired viewers.
- Lawyer. Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
- Paralegal. Assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents. May meet with clients or assist lawyers and judges in court.
- Title Examiner. Search real estate records, examine titles, or summarize pertinent legal or insurance details for a variety of purposes. May compile lists of mortgages, contracts, and other instruments pertaining to titles by searching public and private records for law firms, real estate agencies, or title insurance companies.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Legal Assistant Training
Fresno City College - Fresno, CA
Fresno City College, 1101 E. University Ave, Fresno, CA 93741. Fresno City College is a large college located in Fresno, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,063 students. Fresno City College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated ten, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.
MCed Career College - Fresno, CA
MCed Career College, 2002 N Gateway Blvd, Fresno, CA 93727. MCed Career College is a small college located in Fresno, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 256 students and an admission rate of 92%. MCed Career College has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventeen students in 2008.
Certified Legal Assistant: The CLA examination is divided into five sections.
For more information, see the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. website.
Certified Legal Investigator: The National Association of Legal Investigators, Inc.
For more information, see the National Association of Legal Investigators website.
Certified Legal Video Specialist: The use of video in the legal environment is growing fast.
For more information, see the National Court Reporters Association website.
Certified Broadcast Captioner: Prove you're on the cutting edge.
For more information, see the National Court Reporters Association website.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Fresno, California
Fresno is situated in Fresno County, California. It has a population of over 476,050, which has grown by 11.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Fresno, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Fresno are valued at $156,200 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,230 new homes were constructed in Fresno, down from 2,016 the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Fresno are health care, educational services, and social assistance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 19.0% of Fresno residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.1%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Fresno is 14.8%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.
The percentage of Fresno residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.5%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Pearlygrove Baptist Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Golden Harvest Church of God in Christ are all churches located in Fresno. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Fresno is home to the Cribari Winery and the Aspen Hall as well as Beiden Field and Woodward Park. Shopping malls in the area include Figarden Shopping Center, First And Shaw Shopping Center and Fresno Fashion Fair Shopping Center. Visitors to Fresno can choose from Bedding & Fine Furniture, Best Budget Inn and Best Value Water Tree Inn for temporary stays in the area.