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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Palm Bay, Florida

If you want to be a legal assistant, the Palm Bay, Florida area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 19,240 people are currently employed as legal assistants in Florida. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 42% to 27,360 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for legal assistants are expected to grow by about 28.1%. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a legal assistant can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $44,090 per year on average in Florida and about $22 hourly or $46,120 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Legal assistants earn more than people working in the category of Administration and Support generally in Florida and more than people in the Administration and Support category nationally. Jobs in this field include: eviction specialist, certified paralegal, and legal aide.

The Palm Bay area is home to five schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Palm Bay where you can get a degree as a legal assistant. Legal assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Palm Bay 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.
  • 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

Brevard Community College - Cocoa, FL

Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922. Brevard Community College is a large college located in Cocoa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,607 students. Brevard Community College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Everest University-Melbourne - Melbourne, FL

Everest University-Melbourne, 2401 N Harbor City Blvd, Melbourne, FL 32935. Everest University-Melbourne is a small university located in Melbourne, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 375 students and an admission rate of 8%. Everest University-Melbourne has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eleven and one 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: Palm Bay, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida photo by Cwolfsheep

Palm Bay is located in Brevard County, Florida. It has a population of over 100,786, which has grown by 26.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Palm Bay, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Palm Bay are priced at $195,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred ninety-two new homes were built in Palm Bay, down from seven hundred thirty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Palm Bay are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 16.7% of Palm Bay 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 Palm Bay is 11.9%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Palm Bay residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.2%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Palm Bay is home to the Country Club Plaza and the Port Malabar Plaza. Shopping malls in the area include Palm Bay Shopping Center and Port Malabar Shopping Center. Visitors to Palm Bay can choose from Bay Breeze Restaurant and Bleachers Sports Bar & Grill for temporary stays in the area.