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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for legal assistants. There are currently 8,140 working legal assistants in Massachusetts; this should grow by 19% to about 9,720 working legal assistants in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.

Legal assistants earn approximately $23 per hour or $49,250 per year on average in Massachusetts. Nationally they average about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Administration and Support, people working as legal assistants in Massachusetts earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Administration and Support nationally. Legal assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: certified paralegal, judicial assistant, and contracts specialist.

There are thirty-nine schools of higher education in the Worcester area, including six within twenty-five miles of Worcester where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. The most common level of education for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree. 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 Worcester 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

Middlesex Community College - Bedford, MA

Middlesex Community College, Springs Rd, Bedford, MA 01730-9124. Middlesex Community College is a medium sized college located in Bedford, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,511 students. Middlesex Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus - Tewksbury, MA

The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus, 515 Woburn Street, Tewksbury, MA 01876. The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus is a small school located in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 299 students. The Salter School-Tewksbury Campus has a one to two year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty students in 2008.

Anna Maria College - Paxton, MA

Anna Maria College, 50 Sunset Lane, Paxton, MA 01612-1198. Anna Maria College is a small college located in Paxton, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,333 students and an admission rate of 89%. Anna Maria College has associate's degree, two to four year, bachelor's degree, and postbaccalaureate certificate programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

Mount Wachusett Community College - Gardner, MA

Mount Wachusett Community College, 444 Green St, Gardner, MA 01440-1000. Mount Wachusett Community College is a small college located in Gardner, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,385 students. Mount Wachusett Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifteen and eighteen students respectively in 2008.

Assumption College - Worcester, MA

Assumption College, 500 Salisbury St, Worcester, MA 01609-1296. Assumption College is a small college located in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,888 students and an admission rate of 71%. Assumption College has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated four students in 2008.

Atlantic Union College - South Lancaster, MA

Atlantic Union College, 338 Main St, South Lancaster, MA 01561-1000. Atlantic Union College is a small college located in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 384 students. Atlantic Union College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

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: Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts photo by Yassie

Worcester is located in Worcester County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 175,011, which has grown by 1.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Worcester, 121, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Worcester cost $108,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-one new homes were constructed in Worcester, down from two hundred fourteen the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Worcester are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, construction, and health care. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 23.3% of Worcester residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Worcester is 9.9%, which is greater than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Worcester residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Burncoat Baptist Church, United Congregational Church and Unitarian Universalist Church are among the churches located in Worcester. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church.

Worcester is home to the Tatnuck Country Club and the Massachusetts Biotech Research Park as well as Ty Cobb Park and General Foley Stadium. Shopping malls in the area include Lincoln Plaza Shopping Center, Mid Town Mall and Norwich Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Worcester can choose from Days Inn, Hampton Inn and Maple Manor Hotel for temporary stays in the area.