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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Raleigh, North Carolina

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for legal assistants in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. About 7,840 people are currently employed as legal assistants in North Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow 38% to 10,820 people employed. This is better than the national trend for legal assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 28.1% over the next eight years. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

Income for legal assistants is about $17 per hour or $37,130 per year on average in North Carolina. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,120 per year. Earnings for legal assistants are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Administration and Support in North Carolina and better than general Administration and Support category earnings nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: complex commercial litigation paralegal, legal investigator, and corporate paralegal.

The Raleigh area is home to twenty-nine schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Raleigh 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 Raleigh 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.
  • Paralegal. Assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents. May meet with clients or assist lawyers and judges in court.
  • 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

Central Carolina Community College - Sanford, NC

Central Carolina Community College, 1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, NC 27330-9840. Central Carolina Community College is a small college located in Sanford, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,753 students. Central Carolina Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated one, one, and nine students respectively in 2008.

Miller-Motte College-Cary - Cary, NC

Miller-Motte College-Cary, 2205 Walnut Street, Cary, NC 27518-7171. Miller-Motte College-Cary is a small college located in Cary, North Carolina. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 495 students and an admission rate of 84%. Miller-Motte College-Cary has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

Meredith College - Raleigh, NC

Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27607-5298. Meredith College is a small college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,250 students and an admission rate of 69%. Meredith College has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated sixty-eight students in 2008.

Johnston Community College - Smithfield, NC

Johnston Community College, 245 College Road, Smithfield, NC 27577-2350. Johnston Community College is a small college located in Smithfield, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,128 students. Johnston Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated zero, three, and nine students respectively in 2008.

Durham Technical Community College - Durham, NC

Durham Technical Community College, 1637 Lawson St, Durham, NC 27703-5023. Durham Technical Community College is a medium sized college located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,214 students. Durham Technical Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven and eleven 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: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina photo by Jmturner

Raleigh is located in Wake County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 392,552, which has grown by 42.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Raleigh, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Raleigh are valued at $217,600 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, 1,685 new homes were built in Raleigh, down from 3,224 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Raleigh are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 44.9% of Raleigh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Raleigh is 7.2%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Raleigh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Highland Church, Hillcrest Church and Wake Chapel are all churches located in Raleigh. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Raleigh is home to the North Ridge Country Club and the Pamlico Junction as well as Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest and Rothgeb Park. Visitors to Raleigh can choose from Hampton Inn - Capital Blvd. North, Best Western Raleigh Inn and Diamond Hospitality Inc for temporary stays in the area.