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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Houston, Texas

If you want to be a legal assistant, the Houston, Texas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 17,510 jobs for legal assistants in Texas and this is projected to grow 30% to about 22,770 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.

Legal assistants earn about $21 per hour or $45,680 yearly on average in Texas and about $22 hourly or $46,120 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Administration and Support, people working as legal assistants in Texas earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Administration and Support nationally. Jobs in this field include: corporate paralegal, legal researcher, and proposal specialist.

There are seven schools within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can study to be a legal assistant, among eighty-one schools of higher education total in the Houston area. 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 Houston 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

Center for Advanced Legal Studies - Houston, TX

Center for Advanced Legal Studies, 3910 Kirby Ste 200, Houston, TX 77098-4151. Center for Advanced Legal Studies is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 160 students and an admission rate of 50%. Center for Advanced Legal Studies has an associate's degree and a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seventy-seven and sixty-two students respectively in 2008.

University of Houston-Clear Lake - Houston, TX

University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058-1098. University of Houston-Clear Lake is a medium sized university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 7,638 students. University of Houston-Clear Lake has a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated ten students in 2008.

Alvin Community College - Alvin, TX

Alvin Community College, 3110 Mustang Rd, Alvin, TX 77511-4898. Alvin Community College is a small college located in Alvin, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,386 students. Alvin Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twelve and ten students respectively in 2008.

San Jacinto Community College - Pasadena, TX

San Jacinto Community College, 8060 Spencer Hwy, Pasadena, TX 77501-2007. San Jacinto Community College is a large college located in Pasadena, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,677 students. San Jacinto Community College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX

Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated zero, thirteen, and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Houston Community College System - Houston, TX

Houston Community College System, 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77266-7517. Houston Community College System is a large college located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 48,087 students. Houston Community College System has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated zero, seventeen, and twenty-five students respectively in 2008.

Lee College - Baytown, TX

Lee College, 511 S Whiting, Baytown, TX 77520. Lee College is a medium sized college located in Baytown, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,968 students. Lee College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated sixteen 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: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.