The Debate Over Becoming a Paralegal or a Lawyer
Between now and 2022 there is expected to be a 17% growth rate in the field of paralegals. This is compared to the 10% growth rate of those who become lawyers. According to many statistics. many paralegals make the choice to stay where they are at. Some do go on to become lawyers, but the numbers are much lower. It all depends on whether or not the person wants to be the star. This is where the difference comes into play.
It is not that hard to figure out why when you do a comparison of the each position and the job requirements.
The Job Duties
Both jobs involve research. Both prepare legal documents, many of which are used in actual court cases. Both of career choices will be working very long hours. They will both have very short deadlines for assignments. You may not hold up well if you have a low threshold for pressure.
The difference comes in when discussing the star quality. The lawyer is the one front and center. The lawyer is the one getting the attention. Each lawyer will make choices that can either make or break their career.
A paralegal tends to stay in the back. They may be present in the courtroom, but still in the back. The paralegal is focused more on the behind-the-scenes work. It is important to mention that you will not be receiving any credit as the paralegal. You may be doing all the work, but the lawyer will take the credit. It all depends on what you are comfortable with.
Paralegals only have a two-year degree, sometimes three in law. Lawyers go all the way. They will be spending seven-plus years in college. This is where we see some numbers drop off. After the undergraduate work, about 15% from each school drop out. They do not want to go any further into law. It is too much for them. Those who wish to become lawyers, you will have an increased difficulty for each year you progress to. Grad school will be more difficult than undergraduate school. Your LSAT and Law school time will have an increased time and difficulty.
Time and money are the two biggest obstacles with these career choices. Think long and hard before you make your career choice. This choice will affect the rest of your life.