Family Law Paralegal
Paralegals assist and support attorneys with their caseloads, or with handling legal matters on behalf of the organizations for which they work. In many cases, paralegals specialize in one area of the law, working almost exclusively on matters within a single legal practice area. Family law paralegals generally support attorneys who help clients through emotional and often difficult matters including divorce, child custody and child support, restraining orders, paternity determinations, guardianships, and adoptions.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A FAMILY LAW PARALEGAL?
Before you can specialize as a family court paralegal, you will need to become a paralegal. The requirements to be a paralegal vary, but, usually, most legal employers expect candidates to have earned at least an associate degree in paralegal studies.
In addition to holding a degree, these professionals must be adept at using technology, communicating with various audiences, conducting thorough legal research and organization.
While not a requirement for all such job postings, having advanced, specialized knowledge about family law matters or earning certifications such as those available through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) may help your resume stand out from the competition when applying for jobs.
WHAT DOES A FAMILY LAW PARALEGAL DO?
When working in this profession, you will take direction from one or more licensed attorneys who represent clients in their legal matters. While your job responsibilities will depend on the attorneys’ needs and preferences, expect to have some client involvement. This may mean meeting with clients to obtain information and being the point of contact for the attorney’s clients with their case-related questions and correspondence with clients and other third parties. Because of the nature of most family law matters, having excellent interpersonal and communication skills is critical.
A family law paralegal’s job description often includes the following tasks:
- Conducting legal research
- Maintaining the attorney’s files and calendar
- Organizing, preparing and ensuring required documents are filed with the courts in a timely manner
These documents may include interrogatories, motions, statements, pleadings, judgments and more.
WHY CONSIDER WORKING AS A FAMILY LAW PARALEGAL?
The most successful family law paralegals are generally those professionals who are organized and detail-oriented; who thrive in fast-paced environments; and who are comfortable handling a variety of tasks with multiple deadlines and expectations. Working in this field can be personally and professionally rewarding, as you realize the satisfaction that comes from helping people through some of the most difficult times of their lives.
Family law paralegal salary depends on many factors — including the size and geographic location of the law firm and the paralegal’s experience and qualifications for the position. The national median pay for paralegals in 2020 was $52,920 per year.
WHAT DOES MACCORMAC COLLEGE OFFER ASPIRING FAMILY LAW PARALEGALS?
While there are many colleges and universities that offer paralegal training programs, those programs are unfortunately not all created with the same high standards in mind. MacCormac College in Chicago has been training the nation’s paralegals since 1973, longer than any other two-year institution in Illinois.
Our Paralegal Studies major prepares graduates to work in many exciting careers, including as family law paralegals. Students enrolled in the program gain valuable hands-on, skills-based training in a variety of subjects — including legal research and writing, critical thinking, ethics, communication, etc.
Please note that paralegals may not practice law or otherwise provide legal services directly to the public except as permitted by law.
If you want to become a family law paralegal, more information can be obtained by contacting MacCormac College. We can tell you more about earning an Associate of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies, or about any of our other exciting degree programs. When you’re ready to turn your dreams of working as a paralegal into reality, apply online.