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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Providence, Rhode Island

Legal assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Providence, Rhode Island area. There are currently 810 jobs for legal assistants in Rhode Island and this is projected to grow by 15% to about 930 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.

Legal assistants earn approximately $22 per hour or $46,530 annually on average in Rhode Island. Nationally they average about $22 per hour or $46,120 per year. Legal assistants earn less than people working in the category of Administration and Support generally in Rhode Island and more than people in the Administration and Support category nationally. Legal assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: legal researcher, immigration paralegal, and proposal specialist.

The Providence area is home to fifty-five schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Providence where you can get a degree as a legal assistant. The most common level of education 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 Providence 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

Providence College - Providence, RI

Providence College, River Ave and Eaton St, Providence, RI 02918-0001. Providence College is a medium sized college located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,180 students and an admission rate of 45%. Providence College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated two students in 2008.

Johnson & Wales University - Providence, RI

Johnson & Wales University, 8 Abbott Park Place, Providence, RI 02903-3703. Johnson & Wales University is a large university located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,488 students and an admission rate of 72%. Johnson & Wales University has one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated three, fourteen, and seven students respectively in 2008.

Community College of Rhode Island - Warwick, RI

Community College of Rhode Island, 400 East Ave, Warwick, RI 02886-1807. Community College of Rhode Island is a large college located in Warwick, Rhode Island. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,612 students. Community College of Rhode Island has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirty-seven students in 2008.

Roger Williams University - Bristol, RI

Roger Williams University, One Old Ferry Rd, Bristol, RI 02809-2923. Roger Williams University is a small university located in Bristol, Rhode Island. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,609 students and an admission rate of 61%. Roger Williams University has a bachelor's degree and a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated nine and six 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: Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island photo by Flickr_upload_bot

Providence is situated in Providence County, Rhode Island. It has a population of over 171,557, which has shrunk by 1.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Providence, 105, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Providence are valued at $75,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, seventeen new homes were constructed in Providence, down from forty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Providence are educational services, health care, and miscellaneous manufacturing. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and miscellaneous manufacturing. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 24.4% of Providence residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Providence is 14.5%, which is greater than Rhode Island's average of 12.2%.

The percentage of Providence residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 63.6%, is more than both the national and state average. United Pentecostal Church, United Presbyterian Church and Providence Assembly of God Church are some of the churches located in Providence. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Episcopal Church.

Providence is home to the Fall River Iron Works and the Broadway-Armory Historic District as well as Burnside Park and Customhouse Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Silver Lake Plaza Shopping Center, Shopperstown Shopping Center and Corliss Landing Shopping Center. Visitors to Providence can choose from Historic Jacob Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast Inn, Agora Restaurant & Bar and Old Court Bed & Breakfast for temporary stays in the area.