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How can I choose what type of paralegal I should be?

I'm currently a senior at a private school. I have always had an interest in the law field and just recently chose to go in the direction of being a paralegal. I desire to attend Drury University in Springfield, Mo. #law #paralegal #drury

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Traci’s Answer

Hi Kristen! I'm excited to hear you want to become a paralegal!

I received my Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and I had my heart set on becoming a criminal law paralegal. But after college I moved across the country and took a job as a corporate paralegal and volunteered to cover their intellectual property portfolio, which was mostly trademarks. That's when I fell in love with intellectual property and knew I wanted to work in that area of law. It wasn't until I moved across the country again and took a job as a patent paralegal that I realized patents is exactly where I wanted to be. So for me, it was the experience that made me realize exactly what I wanted to do. (I also considered water law, which I think would be very interesting.)

I agree with Abby's answer that through your paralegal education you may find the area of law that interests you most. I obtained my four-year Bachelor's degree and then took additional paralegal certificate courses on top of that. I see Drury University has a Pre-Law path and when I did a search I found they have an online Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies program: https://www.drury.edu/go/associate-paralegal-studies/. This program will introduce you to different areas of law, and I see they offer an internship with a practicing attorney which would be an amazing opportunity to really see if the area you are most interested in is exactly what you'd like to do after school. Here is another good link to check out, if you'd like to stay in Missouri: https://www.paralegaledu.org/missouri/ and also: https://www.lawyeredu.org/missouri-paralegal.html.

I wish you all the best as you finish up your senior year! :)
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much Traci for your incredible advice!! I found it extremely helpful!! Kristen
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angie’s Answer

Hello, Kristen,

I am not a paralegal, but I believe if you want to find out which type to choose this might help:

First, put one hand on your belly and one on your heart. Then ask yourself which type of paralegal would best suit your interests.

See what you hear from inside of yourself.
See if you hear, corporate, nursing, immigration, freelance, intellectual, labor, litigation, real estate....these are just a few types. But if you hear one, or two or even three....take note. Write them down.

Next, email at least 3 paralegals from each group and ask them questions about their work. Ask them what you are curious about.
If no one replies, get on the phone....we are so used to emails, and many go into junk folders....so get on the phone. You will be noticed if you reach out like that and leave a message.

Do your research next. Which out of the ones that came to you are the most interesting to you right now? Write down why. Go to a library and ask for help finding books on each one....read about it. (YES, go to a real library, not information on the internet) If you are bored halfway through the reading, that might not be the right route. Find one that excites you!

Good luck to you!

Thank you comment icon Thank you very much!! I greatly appreciate your advice!! Kristen
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Autumn’s Answer

Hi Kristen,

I understand that Drury offers an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies, and it is one of the better online paralegal programs. I would reach out to admissions and ask to speak with current students about the classes and workload. I'd also ask to be connected with alumni to see if they felt the program prepared them for work as a paralegal and what job opportunities were available to them after graduating. And, check to see if you can be connected with an instructor and attend a class so you can get some first-hand experience. If you are thinking about a 4-year degree at Drury, I'd also consider majors like criminology, criminal justice, pre-law, or political science.

Lastly, I'd suggest trying to get some experience in prior to starting school. I know this is a little different, but when I was considering law school one thing I did was volunteer in a small municipal court. I mostly did paperwork, mail, etc. but I did get to sit in on some court sessions to help out where I could.

I hope this helps and I wish you all the best!

Autumn
Thank you comment icon Thank you very much!!! I deeply appreciate it!!! Kristen
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Abby’s Answer

Hi Kristen,

Being a paralegal can be an exciting and interesting field! I would highly recommend attending a college school with an American Bar Association-approved paralegal program.

You will be exposed to various types of law throughout your paralegal education and will find what you have a passion for. All types of law require advanced research skills and critical thinking. Litigation and Family law are typically better suited for extroverts, strategists, and people who enjoy public speaking while Real Estate and Estate/Probate are somewhat more routine.


Thank you comment icon Thank you very much for your response and advice. I greatly appreciate it!! Kristen
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