Career and Education Opportunities for Paralegals in Columbia, South Carolina
For those living in the Columbia, South Carolina area, there are many career and education opportunities for paralegals. About 590 people are currently employed as paralegals in South Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 8% to about 640 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for paralegals, which sees this job pool growing by about 13.9% over the next eight years. Paralegals generally assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents.
Income for paralegals is about $15 hourly or $31,400 annually on average in South Carolina. Nationally, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,130 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Representation, people working as paralegals in South Carolina earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Representation nationally. Jobs in this field include: closing agent, staff attorney, and principal law clerk.
There are twenty schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a paralegal. The most common level of education 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 Columbia 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 South Carolina-Columbia - Columbia, SC
University of South Carolina-Columbia, , Columbia, SC 29208. University of South Carolina-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,500 students and an admission rate of 59%. University of South Carolina-Columbia has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 213 students in 2008.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.
The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.
Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.