Paralegal Vs Lawyer : What’s the difference?

Professional training is available to paralegals as well as lawyers. However, the two types of lawyers have significant differences.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

At its most simple level, a paralegal differs from a lawyer in that a paralegal is suitably trained to practise in the legal profession; whereas a lawyer is licenced to practise law.

Lawyers who have passed the bar exam can now practise law on their own or with the help of a paralegal or a legal assistant. In fact, paralegals are only allowed to carry out tasks that have been delegated to them by a lawyer. This is because, the lawyer providing the assignment, not the paralegal, retains totally responsible for the acts of the paralegal and the results of the task.

Historically, the concepts of paralegal vs legal assistant have been used interchangeably. A certificate for each specialisation was introduced by the National Association of Legal Assistants four years into the twenty-first century. So, at now, there is now a distinction between a paralegal versus legal assistant, with the duties of a legal assistant more in line with that of a typical legal secretary.

Some professional paralegals find that after working in the legal field for a while, they have a newfound desire to pursue a career as a lawyer. The journey from paralegal to lawyer is sort of a natural evolution, but it takes careful planning. As a general rule, paralegals benefit greatly from legal education programmes and their existing employers.

IS A PARALEGAL DEGREE WORTH PURSUING?

Just how much money can a legal assistant expect to make?

That’s a really good one.

Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the median salary for a Paralegal/Legal Assistant in 2018 was $51,000, or about $25 an hour..

The government’s statisticians anticipate that paralegal pay and compensation will grow at a pace of 15 percent through the year 2026 — a rate that is considered much faster than the average expected growth of all occupations combined.

An annual salary of $47,000 for all salaried and wage workers in the United States was on average $905 a week in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS data shows that in the same time period, Americans with only a high school certificate earned a median weekly pay of $739.

So, how much do legal assistants get paid per year?

An associate’s or higher degree is not required for paralegals, according to federal salary data, but the average paralegal salary is higher than the median for all workers.

WILL MAKING THE CHANGE TO LAW SCHOOL BE WORTH IT?

One of the simplest ways to assess if it is worth switching to law school while getting your degree studying for a paralegal education is to compare the earnings of a paralegal versus lawyer salaries. It is legitimate to compare the earning potential of each legal practitioner, but this cannot be the sole factor in making a crucial decision (and commitment) to attend law school.

The greater income sought by a lawyer is due to the lawyer’s lengthy education and the responsibilities they assume as licenced stewards of the law. In contrast, paralegal training is less expensive and may be completed considerably more quickly.

If you’re thinking about going to law school, you should keep in mind that becoming a lawyer entails more than just time and money. It is necessary for JD graduates to pass the state bar examination before they can practise law in their jurisdiction.

Finally, one of the most fundamental reasons to consider moving to law school is because you know that you want to be a lawyer and, that practising law is the career path that would offer success and satisfaction.

In other words, you’ll never work a day in your life if the employment you’re doing fulfils your passions, according to an old proverb.

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