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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Mesquite, Texas

Legal assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Mesquite, Texas. There are currently 17,510 working legal assistants in Texas; this should grow by 30% to about 22,770 working legal assistants in the state 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 hourly or $45,680 annually on average in Texas and about $22 per hour or $46,120 annually on average nationally. Incomes for legal assistants are not quite as good as in the overall category of Administration and Support in Texas, and better than the overall Administration and Support category nationally. Jobs in this field include: bankruptcy assistant, immigration specialist, and contracts specialist.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Mesquite where you can study to be a legal assistant, among seventy-six schools of higher education total in the Mesquite area. Given that the most common education level for legal assistants is a Bachelor's degree, it will take about four years to learn 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 Mesquite 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

Arlington Career Institute - Grand Prairie, TX

Arlington Career Institute, 901 Ave K, Grand Prairie, TX 75050. Arlington Career Institute is a small school located in Grand Prairie, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 270 students. Arlington Career Institute has a one to two year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated eighty-one students in 2008.

Everest College-Dallas - Dallas, TX

Everest College-Dallas, 6080 North Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75206. Everest College-Dallas is a small college located in Dallas, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 356 students and an admission rate of 62%. Everest College-Dallas has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.

El Centro College - Dallas, TX

El Centro College, 801 Main, Dallas, TX 75202-3604. El Centro College is a medium sized college located in Dallas, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,114 students. El Centro College has an associate's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated fifty-five students in 2008.

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.

Iverson Business School and Court Reporting - Arlington, TX

Iverson Business School and Court Reporting, 1600 East Pioneer Pkwy, Suite 200, Arlington, TX 76010. Iverson Business School and Court Reporting is a small school located in Arlington, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 186 students. Iverson Business School and Court Reporting has a less than one year program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated seven 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: Mesquite, Texas

Mesquite, Texas
Mesquite, Texas photo by Justin Cozart

Mesquite is situated in Dallas County, Texas. It has a population of over 132,123, which has grown by 6.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Mesquite, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Mesquite cost $155,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, sixty-four new homes were constructed in Mesquite, down from one hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Mesquite are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 18.5% of Mesquite residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mesquite is 8.2%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Mesquite residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.1%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Pentecostal Church of God Christian Assembly, Central Assembly of God Church and Prairie Creek Bible Baptist Church are among the churches located in Mesquite. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Mesquite is home to the Light Crust Doughboys Hall of Fame Museum and the Town East Centre as well as Mesquite Memorial Stadium and Tosch Park. Visitors to Mesquite can choose from Chet' s Electronic Lock & Repair, Big Town Inn and Classic Inn for temporary stays in the area.