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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Legal assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are currently 9,550 jobs for legal assistants in Pennsylvania and this is projected to grow by 15% to about 11,000 jobs 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%. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a legal assistant can expect to earn about $21 hourly or $44,420 per year on average in Pennsylvania and about $22 hourly or $46,120 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for legal assistants are better than in the overall category of Administration and Support in Pennsylvania, and better than the overall Administration and Support category nationally. Legal assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: real estate paralegal, certified paralegal, and eviction specialist.

There are 156 schools of higher education in the Philadelphia area, including fourteen within twenty-five miles of Philadelphia where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. Legal assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Philadelphia 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

Lansdale School of Business - North Wales, PA

Lansdale School of Business, 201 Church Rd, North Wales, PA 19454. Lansdale School of Business is a small school located in North Wales, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 394 students. Lansdale School of Business has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated ten students in 2008.

Camden County College - Blackwood, NJ

Camden County College, College Drive, Blackwood, NJ 08012. Camden County College is a large college located in Blackwood, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,951 students. Camden County College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Peirce College - Philadelphia, PA

Peirce College, 1420 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102-4699. Peirce College is a small college located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,009 students. Peirce College has one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifteen, twenty-five, and fifty-two students respectively in 2008.

Burlington County College - Pemberton, NJ

Burlington County College, 601 Pemberton-Browns Mills Road, Pemberton, NJ 08068-1599. Burlington County College is a medium sized college located in Pemberton, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,688 students. Burlington County College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eight students in 2008.

Community College of Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA

Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19130-3991. Community College of Philadelphia is a large college located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,293 students. Community College of Philadelphia has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifty-three students in 2008.

PJA School - Upper Darby, PA

PJA School, 7900 W Chester Pke, Upper Darby, PA 19082-1917. PJA School is a small school located in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 356 students and an admission rate of 64%. PJA School has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-one and forty-six students respectively in 2008.

Bucks County Community College - Newtown, PA

Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Rd, Newtown, PA 18940-4106. Bucks County Community College is a large college located in Newtown, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,260 students. Bucks County Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated six and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Manor College - Jenkintown, PA

Manor College, 700 Fox Chase Rd, Jenkintown, PA 19046-3399. Manor College is a small college located in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 958 students and an admission rate of 44%. Manor College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five and ten students respectively in 2008.

Prism Career Institute - Philadelphia, PA

Prism Career Institute, 8040 Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19152. Prism Career Institute is a small school located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 100 students and an admission rate of 58%. Prism Career Institute has a one to two year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

Delaware County Community College - Media, PA

Delaware County Community College, 901 S Media Line Rd, Media, PA 19063-1094. Delaware County Community College is a large college located in Media, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,109 students. Delaware County Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated six and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Gloucester County College - Sewell, NJ

Gloucester County College, 1400 Tanyard Road, Sewell, NJ 08080. Gloucester County College is a medium sized college located in Sewell, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,135 students. Gloucester County College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated one and nine students respectively in 2008.

Dawn Training Centre - Wilmington, DE

Dawn Training Centre, 3700 Lancaster Pike Suite 105, Wilmington, DE 19805. Dawn Training Centre is a small school located in Wilmington, Delaware. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 339 students and an admission rate of 100%. Dawn Training Centre has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Widener University-Delaware Campus - Wilmington, DE

Widener University-Delaware Campus, 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803. Widener University-Delaware Campus is a small university located in Wilmington, Delaware. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,211 students. Widener University-Delaware Campus has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated five and nine students respectively in 2008.

Mercer County Community College - West Windsor, NJ

Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Rd, West Windsor, NJ 08550-3407. Mercer County Community College is a medium sized college located in West Windsor, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,120 students. Mercer County Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eight and two 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: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photo by Apollo1758

Philadelphia is located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 1,447,395, which has shrunk by 4.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Philadelphia, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Philadelphia cost $212,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-five new homes were constructed in Philadelphia, down from five hundred ninety-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Philadelphia are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 32 minutes. More than 17.9% of Philadelphia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is lower than the state average.

The percentage of Philadelphia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Boulevard Church, Mount Herman Church and Saint Michael Mission Center are all churches located in Philadelphia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Muslim Estimate.

Philadelphia is home to the Five Points and the Academy Gardens as well as Durham Park and Cloverly Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Mall, Andorra Shopping Center and Red Lion Shopping Center. Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from Comfort Inn, Concordia Worldwide Hotel Reservations and Embassy Suites for temporary stays in the area.