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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Stockton, California

Legal assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Stockton, California. 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.

Legal assistants earn about $26 hourly or $54,800 annually on average in California and about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually on average nationally. 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: legal paraprofessional, patent agent, and eviction specialist.

There are twenty-two schools of higher education in the Stockton area, including one within twenty-five miles of Stockton where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. Legal assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Stockton 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

Humphreys College-Stockton - Stockton, CA

Humphreys College-Stockton, 6650 Inglewood Ave, Stockton, CA 95207-3896. Humphreys College-Stockton is a small college located in Stockton, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 811 students. Humphreys College-Stockton has a one to two year and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventeen and sixteen 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: Stockton, California

Stockton, California
Stockton, California photo by Ron Reiring

Stockton is situated in San Joaquin County, California. It has a population of over 287,037, which has grown by 17.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Stockton, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Stockton cost $262,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-four new homes were built in Stockton, down from six hundred seventeen the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Stockton are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 27 minutes. More than 15.4% of Stockton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Stockton is 19.4%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Stockton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Peniel Ministries for Stockton Neighborhood Center, Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are among the churches located in Stockton. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Stockton is home to the Calaveras Landing and the Stockton Country Club as well as Atherton Park and Williams Brotherhood Park. Shopping malls in the area include Saint Marks Plaza Shopping Center, Hammer Ranch Shopping Center and Weberstown Shopping Center. Visitors to Stockton can choose from Best Western Inn, Best Value Inn and Acorn Inn for temporary stays in the area.