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Corporate Law Paralegal Careers
The security of working for a firm or corporation can be attractive to paralegals looking to specialize in one area, and corporate law can offer that stability as well as excellent benefits.
That said, you’ll perform many of the same tasks as all paralegals—such as preparing legal documents and updating files—but you’ll also provide services for corporate litigation and internal business processes, which means you’ll likely work with many departments and different types and levels of employees.
4 steps to become a corporate paralegal
Earn your bachelor’s degree in a program recognized by the ABA.
You can enter the paralegal field with a 2-year associate degree, but to work in the high-profile world of corporate law, a bachelor’s may be preferred by employers. You can earn a degree in a law-related area or a versatile business staple such as business administration. Make sure your program is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Earn your certification.
Professional agencies like the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the Association of Legal Professionals (NALS), all offer a variety of levels and specialties of professional paralegal certifications. Earning certification usually requires studying and passing an exam (and paying a fee), but professional certification, though not always required, shows employers you’re committed to the field and may pave the way for advancement later on.
Consider an internship.
Completing an internship allows you to gain corporate law experience, which provides opportunities to work with people in the field and understand the policies, regulations, laws and privacy acts that are the basis of any corporate entity. Internships are a great way to gain first-hand knowledge or to see if the field is a good fit for you. Work with your school to see if they provide internship resources or contact corporate law firms in your area directly.
Find a job in a corporate law firm or company.
You can capitalize on the contacts you made during your internship when looking for a job, or use the career center at NALA, the career center at the NFPA and the job board at NALS to conduct national and local searches for paralegal and legal support jobs.
Corporate paralegal duties
Besides the routine tasks paralegals perform, corporate paralegals address a company’s specific and on-going needs—from employee relations and benefits to protecting shareholder interests. You’ll handle legal work related to the product or service the firm provides by performing the following duties:
- Draft executive summaries
- Attend corporate meetings and write meeting minutes
- Assist with compliance issues
- Create employee contracts and benefits briefs
- Draft shareholder agreements
- Draft documents relating to trademarks, brands, and patents
- Prepare financial reports
- Monitor government regulations and changes
Paralegals working in corporate law must be team players and should have good interpersonal skills. Additionally, corporate paralegals should stay abreast of basic developments or changes in the area of corporate law, and keep on top of any certifications their industry prefers. They should also make sure they’re adept in computer and technology skills required by the firm.
There are several ways to become a corporate paralegal, but you’ll need to earn a two-year associate’s degree in paralegal studies to get your foot in the door. Because of the global scope of big corporate business, knowing another language may also be beneficial.
If you’ve got your mind set on a large multi-national firm or one of the country’s Fortune 500 corporations, a four-year bachelor’s in paralegal studies may give you an edge in this highly competitive market.
If you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree in another area, there are intensive paralegal certificate programs available that may allow you to enter the field more quickly. If you need to continue working while in school, online certificate programs can help provide flexibility so you can study on your own schedule.
Job outlook and salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 14.1% job growth for paralegals through 2031, which is much faster than average for all occupations. This may partly be due to the fact that many corporations hire paralegals to do work formerly done by lawyers as a way to cut legal costs. Job openings are also projected to increase because many people in the field, especially those who have chosen to become a paralegal as a second career, will be leaving the profession due to retirement and other factors.
Median Salary: $59,200
Projected job growth: 14.1%
10th Percentile: $37,690
25th Percentile: $46,850
75th Percentile: $75,560
90th Percentile: $94,960
Projected job growth: 14.1%
|State||Median Salary||Bottom 10%||Top 10%|
|District of Columbia||$87,610||$56,780||$124,650|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2031. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.