Starting a home-based paralegal business has essentially the same requirements as opening other small businesses, as specified by the Small Business Administration. Specific to the paralegal business are the credentials and nuances of the legal services industry, as outlined by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Many paralegals began their legal support careers as legal administrative assistants. Paralegals who decide to become independent consultants often gained experience first at law firms or with sole practitioner lawyers. Following that, legal assistants can begin to do contract work through agencies or solo, before establishing their own clients for a home-based business.
Things You'll Need
- Paralegal Training Certificate
- Paralegal Business Experience
- Paralegal Accreditation (PACE)
- Professional Paralegal Association Memberships
- Small Business Licenses and Insurance
- Small Business and Marketing Plan
Check with the American Association for Paralegal Education or a local college to find an accredited legal assistant program. Complete the coursework to qualify for and attain a paralegal certificate.
Sign up with job placement agencies to gain experience. Contract positions can allow for the flexibility needed to establish experience while developing your own consultancy.
Become fully accredited. Take the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). As this accreditation is similar to the bar exam for lawyers, it will ensure credibility for you.
Join the National Federation of Paralegal Associations as well as other business and legal organizations and local chapters. Being a member of professional organizations provides many networking opportunities and tools for small business owners.
Check with local and state agencies about legal business requirements and obtain licenses as necessary. Research insurance requirements and obtain business insurance if needed. Meet with a tax consultant to establish the business according to Internal Revenue Service standards. Check with the Small Business Administration for templates to consider in creating a small business and marketing plan for your home-based paralegal business.
Tips & Warnings
- Create a website to market your services, and network, network, network.
- Check with state and local agencies or consult with an attorney to determine liability and get adequate licenses and business insurance.
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