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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Fargo, North Dakota

Legal assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Fargo, North Dakota. There are currently 260 working legal assistants in North Dakota; this should grow by 11% to about 290 working legal assistants in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for legal assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 28.1% over the next eight years. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

Income for legal assistants is about $17 hourly or $36,620 per year on average in North Dakota. Nationally, their income is about $22 hourly or $46,120 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Administration and Support, people working as legal assistants in North Dakota earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Administration and Support nationally. Jobs in this field include: patent agent, legal aide, and real estate paralegal.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Fargo where you can study to be a legal assistant, among eight schools of higher education total in the Fargo area. Given that the most common education level for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree, 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 Fargo 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

Minnesota State University-Moorhead - Moorhead, MN

Minnesota State University-Moorhead, 1104 7th Ave S, Moorhead, MN 56563. Minnesota State University-Moorhead is a medium sized university located in Moorhead, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,486 students and an admission rate of 80%. Minnesota State University-Moorhead has a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fourteen students 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: Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota photo by Unimatic1140

Fargo is located in Cass County, North Dakota. It has a population of over 93,531, which has grown by 3.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fargo, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fargo are priced at $139,800 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred four new homes were constructed in Fargo, down from four hundred forty-seven the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fargo are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 15 minutes. More than 34.4% of Fargo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fargo is 3.5%, which is greater than North Dakota's average of 3.2%.

The percentage of Fargo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fargo is home to the Elm Tree Square and the Market Square as well as Roosevelt Playground and Oak Grove Park. Shopping malls in the area include Valley North Mall, Northport Mall and West Acres Shopping Center. Visitors to Fargo can choose from Rodeway Inn Fargo, Wingate Inn and Sleep Inn Fargo for temporary stays in the area.