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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Knoxville, Tennessee

There are many career and education opportunities for legal assistants in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. There are currently 3,730 jobs for legal assistants in Tennessee and this is projected to grow by 39% to 5,180 jobs by 2016. 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. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a legal assistant can expect to earn about $18 hourly or $37,640 annually on average in Tennessee and about $22 hourly or $46,120 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for legal assistants are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Administration and Support in Tennessee and better than general Administration and Support category earnings nationally. People working as legal assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: legal aide, research analyst, and certified paralegal.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Knoxville area, including three within twenty-five miles of Knoxville 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 Knoxville 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

South College - Knoxville, TN

South College, 3904 Lonas Road, Knoxville, TN 37909-0000. South College is a small college located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 850 students and an admission rate of 100%. South College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated three students in 2008.

Pellissippi State Technical Community College - Knoxville, TN

Pellissippi State Technical Community College, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville, TN 37933-0990. Pellissippi State Technical Community College is a medium sized college located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 8,742 students and an admission rate of 89%. Pellissippi State Technical Community College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Roane State Community College - Harriman, TN

Roane State Community College, 276 Patton Lane, Harriman, TN 37748. Roane State Community College is a medium sized college located in Harriman, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 5,531 students and an admission rate of 64%. Roane State Community College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifteen 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: Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee photo by Huntster

Knoxville is located in Knox County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 184,802, which has grown by 6.3% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Knoxville, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Knoxville are valued at $105,300 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-one new homes were built in Knoxville, down from six hundred twenty-seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Knoxville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 24.6% of Knoxville 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 Knoxville is 9.0%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Knoxville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 62.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, Springhill Baptist Church and Lincoln Park Baptist Church are all churches located in Knoxville. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Knoxville is home to the Eastern State Hospital Farm and the Berry Hall as well as Volunteer Park and Neyland Stadium. Shopping malls in the area include Clinton Plaza Shopping Center, Walker Springs Plaza Shopping Center and Northgate Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Knoxville can choose from Homewood Suites Knoxville West, Days Inn and Days Inn Knoxville West for temporary stays in the area.