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Paralegals and legal assistants perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers.

For example, paralegals can: investigate the facts of a case; gather and organize evidence; conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles; write or summarize reports to help lawyers prepare for trials; organize and maintain documents; draft correspondence and file exhibits; and schedule interviews, meetings and depositions.

Paralegals work in numerous environments, including: law firms; nonprofits; federal, state and local government; and corporations.

A person can take several paths to becoming a paralegal. Most paralegals and legal assistants have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a bachelor’s degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies. Some employers may require a bachelor’s degree and a certificate, while others will be willing to hire a college graduate with no legal experience/education and train them on the job. Training for the paralegal profession involves courses in legal research, legal writing, the legal applications of computers, and courses in specific areas of law such as criminal, administrative, international or corporate law. In addition, some national and local paralegal organizations offer voluntary paralegal certification exams.

The median wage for paralegals was $52,920 in May 2020. Employment of paralegals is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

Georgia Southern now offers a Paralegal Certificate Program.

The goal of the Paralegal Certificate Program is to give students a competitive edge in obtaining entry-level paralegal positions, and in gaining admission to graduate or law school programs. Currently, this program is embedded in the Political Science degree program. Political Science majors may complete the Concentration in Law and Politics and the Paralegal Certificate Program concurrently. Non-Political Science majors are free to take any of the courses in the program to obtain training without gaining the certificate.

For more information about the Paralegal Certificate Program or the courses in the program, please email Dr. Maureen Stobb at, or make an appointment at

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Last updated: 10/22/2021