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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Cape Coral, Florida

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for legal assistants in the Cape Coral, Florida area. There are currently 19,240 working legal assistants in Florida; this should grow by 42% to 27,360 working legal assistants in the state by 2016. This is better than 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 $21 hourly or $44,090 annually on average in Florida. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $22 hourly or $46,120 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Administration and Support, people working as legal assistants in Florida earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Administration and Support nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: litigation paralegal, real estate paralegal, and judicial assistant.

There are eleven schools of higher education in the Cape Coral area, including five within twenty-five miles of Cape Coral where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. Legal assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Cape Coral 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.
  • 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

Southwest Florida College - Fort Myers, FL

Southwest Florida College, 1685 Medical Lane, Fort Myers, FL 33907-1108. Southwest Florida College is a small college located in Fort Myers, Florida. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,478 students. Southwest Florida College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eight students in 2008.

Rasmussen College-Fort Myers - Fort Myers, FL

Rasmussen College-Fort Myers, 9160 Forum Corporate Parkway, Suite 100, Fort Myers, FL 33905-7805. Rasmussen College-Fort Myers is a small college located in Fort Myers, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 127 students. Rasmussen College-Fort Myers has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

Edison State College - Fort Myers, FL

Edison State College, 8099 College Pky SW, Fort Myers, FL 33919-0000. Edison State College is a large college located in Fort Myers, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 13,252 students. Edison State College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Florida Gulf Coast University - Fort Myers, FL

Florida Gulf Coast University, 10501 Fgcu Blvd S, Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565. Florida Gulf Coast University is a large university located in Fort Myers, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,217 students and an admission rate of 65%. Florida Gulf Coast University has a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirty-two students in 2008.

Hodges University - Naples, FL

Hodges University, 2655 Northbrooke Drive, Naples, FL 34119-7932. Hodges University is a small university located in Naples, Florida. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,922 students and an admission rate of 72%. Hodges University has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated nine 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: Cape Coral, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida photo by Boticario

Cape Coral is situated in Lee County, Florida. It has a population of over 156,835, which has grown by 53.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cape Coral, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cape Coral are valued at $121,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred one new homes were constructed in Cape Coral, down from seven hundred sixty-seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cape Coral are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. 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 25 minutes. More than 17.5% of Cape Coral residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cape Coral is 13.0%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Cape Coral residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Coral Ridge Baptist Church of Cape Coral, Jehovahs Witnesses Cape Coral Congregation and Cape Coral Alliance Church are some of the churches located in Cape Coral. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God.

Cape Coral is home to the Old Bridge Square and the Pine Island Plaza. Shopping centers in the area include Northshore Shopping Center, Coral Gate Shopping Center and Coral Pointe Shopping Center. Visitors to Cape Coral can choose from Casa Loma Motel On the Waterfront, Cape Coral Accommodations and Banyan Trace Community for temporary stays in the area.