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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Irvine, California

For those living in the Irvine, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for legal assistants. About 24,700 people are currently employed as legal assistants in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 26% to 31,200 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for legal assistants are expected to grow by about 28.1%. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a legal assistant can expect to earn about $26 per hour or $54,800 yearly on average in California and about $22 hourly or $46,120 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. 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. Legal assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: labor and employment certified paralegal, research analyst, and title curator.

The Irvine area is home to 112 schools of higher education, including nine within twenty-five miles of Irvine where you can get a degree as a legal assistant. The most common level of education for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a legal assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Legal Assistant

Legal Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

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 Irvine 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

Coastline Community College - Fountain Valley, CA

Coastline Community College, 11460 Warner Ave, Fountain Valley, CA 92708-2597. Coastline Community College is a large college located in Fountain Valley, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,200 students. Coastline Community College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirty-seven, eleven, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Kensington College - Santa Ana, CA

Kensington College, 2428 N Grand Ave Ste D, Santa Ana, CA 92705-8708. Kensington College is a small college located in Santa Ana, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 16 students. Kensington College has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.

Fremont College - Cerritos, CA

Fremont College, 18000 Studebaker Road Suite 900A, Cerritos, CA 90703. Fremont College is a small college located in Cerritos, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 146 students and an admission rate of 59%. Fremont College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

Fullerton College - Fullerton, CA

Fullerton College, 321 E Chapman Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832-2095. Fullerton College is a large college located in Fullerton, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 22,500 students. Fullerton College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated nineteen, sixteen, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Intercoast Colleges - Carson, CA

Intercoast Colleges, One Civic Plaza-Ste 110, Carson, CA 90745. Intercoast Colleges is a small college located in Carson, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 143 students. Intercoast Colleges has a one to two year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven students in 2008.

Cerritos College - Norwalk, CA

Cerritos College, 11110 Alondra Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650-6298. Cerritos College is a large college located in Norwalk, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 22,228 students. Cerritos College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-four, thirteen, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Santa Ana College - Santa Ana, CA

Santa Ana College, 1530 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706-3398. Santa Ana College is a large college located in Santa Ana, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,464 students. Santa Ana College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirteen and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

Argosy University-Orange County - Santa Ana, CA

Argosy University-Orange County, 3501 West Sunflower Avenue, Suite 110, Santa Ana, CA 92704. Argosy University-Orange County is a small university located in Santa Ana, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 882 students and an admission rate of 79%. Argosy University-Orange County has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

South Coast College - Orange, CA

South Coast College, 2011 W. Chapman Avenue, Orange, CA 92868-2616. South Coast College is a small college located in Orange, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 336 students. South Coast College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Irvine, California

Irvine, California
Irvine, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Irvine is situated in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 207,500, which has grown by 45.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Irvine, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Irvine are valued at $283,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-five new homes were built in Irvine, down from two hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Irvine are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 58.4% of Irvine residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Irvine is 7.3%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Irvine residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Irvine is home to the International Raceway and the Heritage Park Library as well as Heritage Park and Alderwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Heritage Plaza Shopping Center, Alton Square Shopping Center and Arbor Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Irvine can choose from Atrium Hotel At Orange County Airport and Amerilodge Electronics for temporary stays in the area.