Labor Law Paralegal Careers and Education

You'll need to be prepared to work as a labor law paralegal. Here are your education requirements and job responsibilities.

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Labor strikes and union negotiation disputes are just a few of the conflicts you'll encounter as a labor law paralegal.

While many of your daily responsibilities will be similar to paralegals in any field, you'll have the opportunity to work with diverse groups of employees and small and large companies.

What Does a Labor Law Paralegal Do?

Labor law paralegals are more often employed in a legal department of a corporation, but may also work in a law firm, working on cases representing people or companies in labor disputes.

Here's what else a labor law paralegal is responsible for:

  • Assisting attorneys in handling union negotiations or employee contracts
  • Supporting attorneys in handling harassment or discrimination litigation
  • Writing or summarizing pleadings, minor motions or other documents for a case
  • Assisting in writing contracts, or keeping track of case progress or deadlines

As more experience is gained, a paralegal can become even more focused on certain aspects of labor law.

Labor Law Paralegal Education

The first step toward a labor law paralegal career is to earn a paralegal certification or an associate's degree in paralegal studies. While a degree is not necessary to enter the profession and some companies may foster your skills on the job, the education from a certification or associate's degree can give you a competitive edge.

Associate's and bachelor's degrees in paralegal studies give you paralegal training as well as a liberal arts education. A certification program is often designed for people with college degrees. They are more intensive and take less time to complete.

Additional courses in labor law, as well as the more general subjects of contracts and litigation, can also better prepare a certified paralegal to move into this specialty.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for paralegals and legal assistants is $46,990.

However, your salary may be affected by the employer. For example, a paralegal working in the federal government (excluding the postal service) has a median annual wage of $62,400.

The BLS projects job growth at 17 percent through 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations.

Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.