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Career and Education Opportunities for Legal Assistants in Plano, Texas

Plano, Texas provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for legal assistants. Currently, 17,510 people work as legal assistants in Texas. This is expected to grow 30% to about 22,770 people 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. In general, legal assistants assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents.

A person working as a legal assistant can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $45,680 per year on average in Texas and about $22 hourly or $46,120 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Legal assistants earn less than people working in the category of Administration and Support generally in Texas and more than people in the Administration and Support category nationally. Jobs in this field include: corporate legal assistant, document processor, and legal analyst.

There are seven schools within twenty-five miles of Plano where you can study to be a legal assistant, among seventy-nine schools of higher education total in the Plano area. Legal assistants usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so 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 Plano 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.

Texas Woman's University - Denton, TX

Texas Woman's University, 304 Administration Dr, Denton, TX 76201. Texas Woman's University is a large university located in Denton, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,341 students and an admission rate of 56%. Texas Woman's University has a bachelor's degree program in Legal Assistant/Paralegal which graduated twenty 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: Plano, Texas

Plano, Texas
Plano, Texas photo by Jmcstrav

Plano is situated in Collin County, Texas. It has a population of over 267,480, which has grown by 20.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Plano, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Plano are valued at $229,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, three hundred sixty-eight new homes were constructed in Plano, down from five hundred forty-six the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Plano are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, computer and electronic products, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 53.3% of Plano residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Plano is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Plano residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.7%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Potters House Assembly of God Church, Central Baptist Church and Preston Meadow Lutheran Church are among the churches located in Plano. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Plano is home to the Heritage Farmstead Museum and the The Shops at Willow Bend as well as Enfield Park and Buckhorn Park. Shopping malls in the area include Preston Shepard Place Shopping Center, Preston Towne Crossing Shopping Center and Collin Creek Shopping Center. Visitors to Plano can choose from Amerisuites Dallas Plano North, Best Western Park Suites Hotel and AmeriSuites Plano for temporary stays in the area.