Most of us think that legal assistants and paralegals are the same but actually there is a difference between the two. Although a Paralegal may also be known as a Legal Assistant, in some geographical areas, there is a difference between the two.
No matter what, Paralegals and Legal Assistants are different in terms of their job titles. The Paralegal is more involved in legal research and actual casework as compared to a Legal Assistant. Paralegals may be involved in the drafting of legal documents which demands more research and background knowledge. Private organizations hiring Paralegals often prefer those who have background in political science or law to help them in research and trial preparation.
Legal Assistants are often involved in managing the administrative tasks that are required by the Paralegals and lawyers. For instance, Legal Assistants may be in charge of maintaining precise trial records and research or to make sure that all the court filing needs are successfully met. The people working as Legal Assistants mainly have a clerical or secretarial background, as the capabilities of maintaining precise records and supporting multiple people are indispensable.
The differences between a Paralegal and a Legal Assistant lie mainly in the kind of work they perform. A working Paralegal is able to earn around $35000 to $50000 a year. The salary range may vary according to the location and experience of an individual. The experienced Paralegals living in metropolitan cities enjoy a higher pay scale. Also, the Paralegals can improve their salary by earning the certified paralegal credentials program certificate. The certificate adds to both qualification and knowledge of a paralegal.
In spite of the differences in job duties between a paralegal and a legal assistant, the salaries earned by both are quite similar. The salary of a legal assistant basically depends on the kind of job duties assigned and the location of work. The legal assistants also have an opportunity to improve their salary outlook by earning various certifications like certified legal assistant program through NALA.
Despite of the job title you pursue, it is vital to keep yourself aware of the different demands of each title. Legal Assistants and Paralegals have to work in a high pressure environment as most of them are employed either in government agencies or private law organizations. It is a great field to make handsome money and social status if you are comfortable working in such situations.