Become a Paralegal Instructor
Paralegals hold important roles helping lawyers do their tasks. As students, they must be trained well how to fulfil this role. And this task of training future paralegals lies in the hands of experienced instructors.
Are you a paralegal with years of work experience behind you? Do you have an interest in teaching? Consider becoming a paralegal instructor.
Paralegals or legal administrative assistants help lawyers prepare for hearings and trials. All the time, they are to work under the supervision of a lawyer in doing researches, and drafting documents in relation to cases. They are not allowed to give legal advice or represent clients in court. Paralegals, just like lawyers also specialize in practices such as corporate law, criminal law, labor and employment law. Would you like to teach a course in paralegal studies?
- Get a BS in Paralegal Studies or a BS with a major in Paralegal Studies. Or take an associate or diploma in paralegal studies (for example, Associate in Applied Science in Paralegal Studies). Make sure the paralegal training program you are taking is recognized by your local law society. Some paralegals study further for a BA in other fields like education and journalism. Still others proceed for an MA in a related or another field of discipline. To find possible courses you can take, visit the American Institute for Paralegal Studies and the American Association for Paralegal Education.
- Do freelance paralegal work or get employment in a law firm, or the legal department of a private company (real estate firms, title agencies), government office, or financial institutions. As universally known, you cannot teach what you don’t know. To teach aspiring paralegals well, you must be able to give students inputs based on experience. And you can only get that by working as a paralegal.
- Without a degree, you can also get any job in a law office to get experience and legal management training and be promoted to the position of paralegal later on. Or, while working, you can earn a paralegal education.
- Get a teaching license and/or teaching experience. The teaching experience could be from various settings – in elementary, secondary, or adult education. While still in high school, volunteer to teach in tutorial programs. You can also volunteer to teach after attending a teaching training program. A teaching license is needed to teach in public schools.
- Get certified. Enrol in courses to prepare you to pass certifying exams. A certification is not mandatory, but it could help one get ahead in the profession. Two major certifying bodies for paralegals in the country are the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). Check whether your state has licensing requirements that you must comply with.
Many paralegal instructors are practicing lawyers themselves. If you have been working as a paralegal, pursuing a career in teaching is one way to bring your career to a new level while earning additional income from a part-time job.