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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Tampa, Florida

For those living in the Tampa, Florida area, there are many career and education opportunities for legal assistants. There are currently 19,240 working legal assistants in Florida; this should grow by 42% to about 27,360 working legal assistants in the state by 2016. This is better than 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.

Legal assistants earn approximately $21 per hour or $44,090 annually on average in Florida. Nationally they average about $22 hourly or $46,120 yearly. 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. Jobs in this field include: corporate law assistant, research analyst, and closing agent.

The Tampa area is home to fifty-four schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Tampa 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 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 Tampa 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

Everest University-Brandon - Tampa, FL

Everest University-Brandon, 3924 Coconut Palm Dr, Tampa, FL 33619-1354. Everest University-Brandon is a medium sized university located in Tampa, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,968 students and an admission rate of 68%. Everest University-Brandon has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirty-four and five students respectively in 2008.

Everest University-Lakeland - Lakeland, FL

Everest University-Lakeland, 995 E Memorial Blvd Suite110, Lakeland, FL 33801. Everest University-Lakeland is a small university located in Lakeland, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 326 students and an admission rate of 67%. Everest University-Lakeland has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated sixteen and zero students respectively in 2008.

Everest University-Tampa - Tampa, FL

Everest University-Tampa, 3319 W Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33614. Everest University-Tampa is a small university located in Tampa, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 451 students and an admission rate of 74%. Everest University-Tampa has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated nine and eight students respectively in 2008.

Pasco-Hernando Community College - New Port Richey, FL

Pasco-Hernando Community College, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey, FL 34654-5199. Pasco-Hernando Community College is a medium sized college located in New Port Richey, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,602 students. Pasco-Hernando Community College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

Everest University-Largo - Largo, FL

Everest University-Largo, 1199 East Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33770-2556. Everest University-Largo is a small university located in Largo, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 288 students and an admission rate of 67%. Everest University-Largo has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eleven and one students respectively in 2008.

St Petersburg College - Clearwater, FL

St Petersburg College, 14025 58th Street North, Clearwater, FL 33760. St Petersburg College is a large college located in Clearwater, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 26,099 students. St Petersburg College has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twelve and nine students respectively in 2008.

Hillsborough Community College - Tampa, FL

Hillsborough Community College, 39 Columbia Drive, Tampa, FL 33606-3584. Hillsborough Community College is a large college located in Tampa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,037 students. Hillsborough Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven and twenty 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: Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida photo by Caltrop

Tampa is located in Hillsborough County, Florida. It has a population of over 340,882, which has grown by 12.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tampa, 95, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Tampa are valued at $188,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Tampa, down from 1,008 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tampa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 25.4% of Tampa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tampa is 11.8%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Tampa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, Florida Tampa Mission and Most Holy Redeemer Church are among the churches located in Tampa. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Tampa is home to the Parkers Railroad Station and the Drew Station Railroad Station as well as Ybor City Museum State Park and American Legion Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Northgate Shopping Center, Old Hyde Park Village Shopping Center and Benttree Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Tampa can choose from Backstage Restaurant & Lounge, Baymont Tampa Busch Gardens and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.