Lawyers may be the face of the legal profession, but paralegals are often the backbone. From researching cases to drafting documents, paralegals handle much of the grunt work and provide services under the supervision of lawyers. The American Bar Association-approved program at TCC offers both degree and certificate options for students interested in working in the legal field, including assisting attorneys with a variety of tasks. Graduates can find jobs in law offices, the legal department of a corporation or government agency and may also serve as a private investigator. In addition, some graduates may choose to start their own paralegal businesses.
While there are no universal requirements for becoming a paralegal in New York, many employers prefer to hire those with an associate or bachelor’s degree in Paralegal near me studies or a related field. The following New York colleges and universities offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in paralegal studies.
New York City/Newark leads the nation in employment of paralegals and legal assistants, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Albany metro area is second, followed by the Kingston and Binghamton metro areas. Across the state, annual median wages for paralegals and legal assistants are higher than the national average.
BCC’s AAS program in paralegal studies offers a balanced academic curriculum that emphasizes the skills, substantive knowledge and ethics needed to assist lawyers with a variety of legal tasks. The program also includes externships and practicums so that students can gain valuable experience in the workforce before graduating. In addition, the college has transfer agreements with four-year schools, making it easier for students to continue their education and pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Getting a job as a paralegal requires not only the right qualifications, but also a strong network. Cristy Torrelli, the president of the Western New York Paralegal Association, says that gaining experience through internships and volunteering is one way to build up a resume. She also suggests joining a professional organization to meet other paralegals and get exposure to the latest legal trends.
Torrelli adds that a paralegal who is licensed through the Law Society can help in gaining access to high-level opportunities in large law firms, which can boost salaries and advancement chances. She also suggests that prospective paralegals focus on developing strong language skills and fostering positive connections with others in the industry.
The Niche Best Colleges for Paralegals ranking is based on a review of academic data from the most recently available standardized tests, as well as an evaluation of factors like faculty-to-student ratios, student life and alumni networks. This year, the site introduced an Economic Mobility Index and removed ACT/SAT scores from its rankings to reflect the overall de-emphasis on test scores in the college admissions process. The complete ranking can be found here. Using the search box above, you can filter by state, degree level, and more. The results page will list the top-ranked colleges in each category, along with information about the school and an overview of the curriculum.