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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in McKinney, Texas

Legal assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the McKinney, Texas area. About 17,510 people are currently employed as legal assistants in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 30% to 22,770 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for legal assistants are expected to grow by about 28.1%. Legal assistants generally assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

Income for legal assistants is about $21 hourly or $45,680 annually on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,120 yearly. 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: document processor, corporate legal assistant, and litigation paralegal.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the McKinney area, including two within twenty-five miles of McKinney where you can get a degree to start your career as a legal assistant. Given that the most common education level 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 McKinney 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.
  • 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

Southeastern Career Institute - Dallas, TX

Southeastern Career Institute, 12005 Ford Road, Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75234. Southeastern Career Institute is a small school located in Dallas, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 321 students. Southeastern Career Institute has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifty-six students in 2008.

Collin County Community College District - Plano, TX

Collin County Community College District, 4800 Preston Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75093. Collin County Community College District is a large college located in Plano, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,000 students. Collin County Community College District has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated thirteen and thirteen 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: McKinney, Texas

McKinney, Texas
McKinney, Texas photo by Agriffin

Mckinney is situated in Collin County, Texas. It has a population of over 121,211, which has grown by 122.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Mckinney, 90, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Mckinney are valued at $168,500 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, nine hundred eighty-seven new homes were built in Mckinney, down from 1,662 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Mckinney are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 39.1% of Mckinney residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mckinney is 7.8%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Mckinney residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.7%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Eternity Community Church and Church of Christ are some of the churches located in Mckinney. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Mckinney is home to the Estes House and the A M Scott House as well as Mouzon Park and Murphy Park.