Law Office Jobs
- Research Assistant
- Administrative Assistant
- Legal Writer
- Process Server
Working as a lawyer or a paralegal generally requires some type of college degree, but there are some law office jobs that don't need a law degree. You can work in one of these positions as you study law as an undergrad to make sure it's the right career choice for you, or you can work in one of these jobs while in law school and until you pass the bar exam.
Films and television shows often make it seem like lawyers spend long hours doing research in law libraries before going to court, but associates generally spend less time than you would think doing research. They often leave this task to research assistants. As an assistant, you will research a topic or case given to you by a lawyer in the office. You'll usually gather information about similar cases and crimes to help that lawyer come up with a solid defense strategy.
An administrative assistant handles some of the same duties as a secretary. This person generally works for just one lawyer in the firm but may work with all lawyers when needed. When you become an administrative assistant, you will file paperwork, gather information from clients calling in with requests, make travel arrangements for lawyers who need to go out of town and do other similar tasks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative assistants make a median salary of around $18 an hour or more than $37,000 a year.
Though you do not need a law degree to work as a legal writer, you do need some familiarity with legal phrases and an understanding of legal terminology. Legal writers will often take the documents and information found by research assistants, find the most important information and create new documents that highlight the information lawyers need. The law office may also hire a legal writer to create content for its website and to drive traffic to the site that will translate to consultations and new clients. If you work for an office that specializes in criminal law, you'll create articles about different types of crimes and how that firm can help.
One of the law office jobs that don't need a law degree is a courier. While law firms can use fax machines to send information to government departments, the courthouse and other law firms, it often needs couriers to deliver packages and messages to clients and to lawyers working in the field. Though you do not need a law degree to work as a courier, you do need a valid driver's license and a clean driving record. The firm may require that you provide your own transportation or have a vehicle that you can use.
When you work for a prosecutor's office, you might work as a process server. Defense firms also hire process servers. A process server is someone who literally serves paperwork to another individual. This often occurs when one side decides to call a witness to the stand and wants to serve a document that states the individual must appear in court. As a process server, you need to do research to find out where those people live and work to make sure that you catch them at the right time.
To work as a lawyer or a paralegal, you must have some type of college degree. When you're still in college or in law school though, you can work for one of these firms before you finish your degree. Some of the law office jobs that don't need a law degree include process server and administrative assistant.