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Career and Education Opportunities for Paralegals in Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for paralegals. About 320 people are currently employed as paralegals in North Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 12% to 350 people employed. 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%. In general, paralegals assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a paralegal can expect to earn about $15 per hour or $32,580 annually on average in North Carolina 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 North Carolina and not quite as good as general Representation category earnings nationally. People working as paralegals can fill a number of jobs, such as: summer law associate, judicial law clerk, and legal assistant.

The Durham area is home to twenty-six schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Durham where you can get a degree as a paralegal. Given that the most common education level for paralegals is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years training to become 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 Durham 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

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a large university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,567 students and an admission rate of 35%. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 221 students in 2008.

Duke University - Durham, NC

Duke University, 103 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708. Duke University is a large university located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,871 students and an admission rate of 23%. Duke University has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 291 students in 2008.

North Carolina Central University - Durham, NC

North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707. North Carolina Central University is a medium sized university located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,033 students and an admission rate of 74%. North Carolina Central University has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 141 students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina photo by Specious

Durham is situated in Durham County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 223,284, which has grown by 19.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Durham, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Durham are valued at $187,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,082 new homes were built in Durham, down from 1,574 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Durham are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 41.8% of Durham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Durham is 7.3%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Durham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Laymans Church, Holy Infant Church and Homestead Heights Church are among the churches located in Durham. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Durham is home to the Hope Valley Country Club and the Union Building as well as Durham County Stadium and Northgate Park. Shopping centers in the area include South Square Mall, Lakewood Shopping Center and Kings Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Durham can choose from Brownestone Inn, Durham-Days Inn ) and Hilton Durham for temporary stays in the area.