Online degrees in paralegal studies prepare students for a rewarding career assisting attorneys with legal writing, research, interviewing, and other tasks. Paralegals play a key role in helping attorneys prepare for trial by researching the facts of a case, analyzing relevant laws and regulations that apply to the case at hand, and preparing organized case reports. A degree program in paralegal studies builds the legal knowledge and research skills needed for professionals in the field.
The best online paralegal studies degrees incorporate an internship where would-be paralegals practice their skills in a real law office, corporate legal department, or similar environment. Another key factor in quality paralegal studies programs is course work designed to prepare students for certification exams offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or other national paralegal associations. While certification credentials are not required in the industry, they may make it easier to find a job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Course work in an online paralegal studies degree covers criminal law and procedures, civil law and procedures, torts, law office management, and more. Students will also get in-depth exposure to specific areas of law, such as family law, property law, wills and estates, business law and contracts, and more.
Aside from the more traditional paralegal work found in law offices and law firms, those who graduate from such programs may also pursue careers as corporate paralegals or litigation paralegals. Opportunities for specialization in the field abound, and paralegals can work in estate planning, labor law, bankruptcy law, patent law, and any other legal specialization.