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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in San Diego, California

If you want to be a legal assistant, the San Diego, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 24,700 people work as legal assistants in California. This is expected to grow by 26% to 31,200 people 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. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

The income of a legal assistant is about $26 per hour or $54,800 per year on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually on average. Legal assistants earn less than people working in the category of Administration and Support generally in California and more than people in the Administration and Support category nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: contracts specialist, immigration specialist, and document processor.

The San Diego area is home to sixty schools of higher education, including ten within twenty-five miles of San Diego where you can get a degree as a legal assistant. The most common level of education 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

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 San Diego 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

San Diego Miramar College - San Diego, CA

San Diego Miramar College, 10440 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92126-2999. San Diego Miramar College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,455 students. San Diego Miramar College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five, twenty-four, twenty-three, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Cuyamaca College - El Cajon, CA

Cuyamaca College, 900 Rancho San Diego Pky, El Cajon, CA 92019. Cuyamaca College is a medium sized college located in El Cajon, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,926 students. Cuyamaca College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

San Diego City College - San Diego, CA

San Diego City College, 1313 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101-4787. San Diego City College is a large college located in San Diego, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,372 students. San Diego City College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two, zero, and five students respectively in 2008.

University of San Diego - San Diego, CA

University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492. University of San Diego is a medium sized university located in San Diego, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,832 students and an admission rate of 52%. University of San Diego has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated 211 students in 2008.

Kaplan College-San Diego - San Diego, CA

Kaplan College-San Diego, 9055 Balboa Avenue, San Diego, CA 92123. Kaplan College-San Diego is a small college located in San Diego, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,267 students. Kaplan College-San Diego has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eight students in 2008.

Palomar College - San Marcos, CA

Palomar College, 1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069-1487. Palomar College is a large college located in San Marcos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 28,093 students. Palomar College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two, five, three, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Kaplan College-Vista - Vista, CA

Kaplan College-Vista, 2022 University Dr, Vista, CA 92083-7736. Kaplan College-Vista is a small college located in Vista, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 973 students. Kaplan College-Vista has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Argosy University-San Diego - San Diego, CA

Argosy University-San Diego, 1615 Murray Canyon Road, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92108. Argosy University-San Diego is a small university located in San Diego, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 175 students and an admission rate of 87%. Argosy University-San Diego has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five students in 2008.

National University - La Jolla, CA

National University, 11255 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037-1011. National University is a large university located in La Jolla, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 26,414 students. National University has a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated ten students in 2008.

Southwestern College - Chula Vista, CA

Southwestern College, 900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910-7299. Southwestern College is a large college located in Chula Vista, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,997 students. Southwestern College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated nineteen, nineteen, and zero students respectively 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: San Diego, California

San Diego, California
San Diego, California photo by FlickreviewR

San Diego is situated in San Diego County, California. It has a population of over 1,279,329, which has grown by 4.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Diego, 141, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Diego are valued at $323,700 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-one new homes were constructed in San Diego, down from seven hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Diego are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 35.0% of San Diego residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Diego is 10.5%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Diego residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Penasquitos Nazarene Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Paul E Kidd African Methodist Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in San Diego. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

San Diego is home to the Zlac Rowing Club and the Rancho Los Penasquitos Golf Course as well as Adobe Bluffs Park and John F Kennedy Park. Shopping malls in the area include San Diego Factory Outlet Shopping Center, San Carlos Shopping Center and Montgomery Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to San Diego can choose from Best Western Posada at the Yac, Beachfront San Diego and Banana Bungalow Hostel San Diego for temporary stays in the area.