Online Law Degrees: Be a Legal Beagle

Online Law Degrees: Be a Legal Beagle

Fran broke off a tooth at exactly 12:30 p.m. on Friday. When she called her dentist, she learned that his office had already closed for the weekend. First thing Monday morning, she called again but could not speak to Dr. Kay directly because he was booked solid for the day. To her great relief, however, his assistant was able to answer her most important questions until she could get treatment.

When you earn your online degree in legal or paralegal studies, you will have knowledge similar to that of Dr. Kay’s assistant, but in the field of law. You will be the right-hand person for the lawyers in your office, pinch-hitting for them at times while also conducting the essential research they will need when preparing their cases for court. Every time one of them wins a legal battle, you will know that you have played a key role in the firm’s success.

This is a great degree for those who love behind-the-scenes work involving research, writing, and organizational skills. If you think you might like to become a lawyer but still aren’t sure, beginning work as a paralegal is a great way to earn money while trying to make up your mind. And if you decide up front to earn a Master’s degree, you will find opportunities to learn online at some of the finest, most competitive schools in the country. (However, even with an Associate’s degree, you will be able to find employment in this field.)

Another advantage of a online legal studies degree is that it opens up other options for you besides work in a law office. You could find employment in a bank or in the legal department of a corporation, in a government office or a law enforcement agency, or in a county, state, or federal courthouse. You could work as an independent legal consultant or as a journalist covering legal affairs for a newspaper or magazine. In fact, let your imagination run a little wild here. With this degree you could land a slot connected with a legal advice website, a legal-themed television or radio show, or with cable’s Court TV. (Move over, Judge Judy!)

No matter how you decide to use your degree, getting it will be a great bet for your future. According to statistics published in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Labor, openings for legal assistants will keep growing at an above-average rate through 2014. Why? In these uncertain financial times, companies will be cutting expenses by hiring paralegals to do more of the work formerly done by lawyers.

As a paralegal, you can expect to earn around $34,000 in your first year of employment, with your pay increasing to a possible $49,000 after acquiring ten years of experience. What sorts of courses will be required of you? When you start your distance education law program, expect to study basic legal terminology, legal research techniques, and the legal process itself. Later courses will cover specialties such as family law and criminal law.

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