How to Become a Paralegal in 6 Months


Paralegals provide both substantive and administrative support for attorneys. They may conduct legal research, draft court filings and letters and prepare exhibits and documents for trials. The specific requirements for becoming a paralegal vary by jurisdiction. While some states do not regulate paralegals, others have specific education and experience requirements. Before beginning any paralegal training, consult with your state's bar association to determine if you can meet you goal in six months.

  • Find a law firm that provides on-the-job training. If you already have a two- or four-year degree and a basic knowledge of office procedures such as filing and word processing, look for law firms that offer training programs. Often, these training programs will start you out as an administrative assistant and teach you while you work alongside an attorney and experienced paralegals.

  • Take community college courses. Generally, you must have at least two years of college or a specialized certificate to work as a paralegal. If you are not able to complete a full program or associate degree in six months, takes classes in government, justice, writing and research, which will give you the knowledge and skills you need to perform entry-level paralegal duties.

  • Take online courses. Many accredited online university and correspondence schools offer condensed paralegal certificate programs that can be completed in six months or less. These programs are well-suited to prospective paralegals who already have college-level education and work experience but no experience in the law or justice fields.

  • Intern with a court or private law firm. If you are a student who did not major in paralegal studies or pre-law but are still interested in pursuing a career as a paralegal after graduation, consider getting an unpaid internship in the legal field. At some firms, hands-on experience working in a law firm environment can serve as a substitute for a degree in paralegal studies.

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