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Career and Education Opportunities for Paralegals in Columbia, Maryland

For those living in the Columbia, Maryland area, there are many career and education opportunities for paralegals. Currently, 1,540 people work as paralegals in Maryland. This is expected to shrink by 5% to 1,460 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for paralegals are expected to grow by about 13.9%. Paralegals generally assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a paralegal can expect to earn about $19 per hour or $40,110 per year on average in Maryland and about $17 per hour or $37,130 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for paralegals are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Representation in Maryland and not quite as good as general Representation category earnings nationally. People working as paralegals can fill a number of jobs, such as: closing agent, judicial clerk, and judicial law clerk.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including nine within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a paralegal. Paralegals usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a paralegal if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Paralegal

In general, paralegals assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents. They also may meet with clients or assist lawyers and judges in court.

Every day, paralegals are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for paralegals to ready real estate closing statements and help in closing process. They are often called upon to search for and study legal documents to investigate facts and law of cases, to establish causes of action and to ready cases. They also inspect and file pleadings, petitions and other documents relevant to court actions. They are sometimes expected to ready affidavits of documents and maintain document files and case correspondence. Somewhat less frequently, paralegals are also expected to serve copies of pleas to opposing counsel.

Paralegals sometimes are asked to store and maintain currency of legal volumes. And finally, they sometimes have to research and analyze law sources to ready drafts of briefs or arguments for review and use by attorney.

Like many other jobs, paralegals must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • 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.
  • Legal Assistant. Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.
  • 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: Paralegal Training

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 154 students in 2008.

Georgetown University - Washington, DC

Georgetown University, 37th and O St NW, Washington, DC 20057. Georgetown University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,318 students and an admission rate of 19%. Georgetown University has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 645 students in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia David A Clarke School of Law - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia David A Clarke School of Law, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia David A Clarke School of Law is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 251 students. University of the District of Columbia David A Clarke School of Law has a professional degree program in Law which graduated sixty-eight students in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 529 students in 2008.

University of Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

University of Baltimore, Charles at Mount Royal, Baltimore, MD 21201-208. University of Baltimore is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,844 students and an admission rate of 50%. University of Baltimore has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 292 students in 2008.

Catholic University of America - Washington, DC

Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20064. Catholic University of America is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,705 students and an admission rate of 81%. Catholic University of America has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 272 students in 2008.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has a doctor's degree program in Law which graduated 475 students in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 216 students in 2008.

University of Maryland-Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore, 520 West Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1627. University of Maryland-Baltimore is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,156 students. University of Maryland-Baltimore has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 268 students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.