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Criminal Law Paralegal Duties

More and more, paralegals are choosing to specialize in a particular area of law.

criminal law paralegal meeting with client outside courthouse

If you’ve got your eye on a criminal law career, there’s good news.

The paralegal role is becoming more specialized, and now is a great time to get a criminal law paralegal education.

Learn what makes a criminal law paralegal different from other paralegal career tracks.

What You’ll Do as a Criminal Law Paralegal

Paralegals conduct most of their work in an office or law library. In recent years, paralegals have started completing more tasks that were traditionally done by attorneys. The caveat is criminal law paralegals aren’t authorized to practice law so their work is done under the supervision of an attorney.

Criminal law paralegals need to be familiar with the basic classification of crimes, as well as the legal procedures surrounding search and seizure, arrest, bail, and probation.

In criminal law, a paralegal may:

  • Conduct witness interviews
  • Pursue legal research for a case
  • Prepare documents
  • Assist a lawyer in preparing for a trial
  • Draft complaints, motions, or briefs in criminal proceedings

Criminal Law Paralegal Degrees

Most paralegals gain entry into the field by getting an associate’s degree from a paralegal program.

For those who already have a bachelor’s degree, there are post-degree certificates in paralegal studies, which offer more intensive paralegal schooling and a pathway to a paralegal career. Admission requirements can vary, with some requiring a bachelor’s degree or related college courses, and some only requiring a high school degree.

If you enroll in a criminal law paralegal degree program, you can expect to see the following types of courses:

  • Contracts
  • Legal writing
  • Criminal law essentials
  • Ethics and responsibility

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics, the median national annual salary for paralegals and legal assistants is $59,200.

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.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth at 4.2% through 2032, which is much faster than average for all occupations. This job growth is due in part to employers attempting to cut costs and delegate more legal work to paralegals.