10 Alternative Careers for Paralegals

Paralegals are legal professionals who play crucial roles in the administrative components of the legal system.

Their primary role involves helping legal clients and attorneys prepare for court hearings, closings, and legal proceedings.


Certified paralegals contribute significantly to the success of law firms, corporate legal departments, and related industries by carrying out fast-paced legal activities.

The job duties of a supervised Paralegal can include researching case law, drafting legal documents, assisting in trials, and providing hands-on administrative support to lawyers.

Learn how some paralegals put their years of substantive legal experience into alternative careers in the guide below!

Career Outlook for Licensed and Certified Paralegals

Certified paralegals typically hold local or national credentials from American Bar Association-approved bachelor’s degree programs or NALA-based certification programs.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, predicts that the demand for highly skilled administrative assistants who support local attorneys and judicial systems with simple and complex legal matters will continue to grow faster in the United States.

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Where Do Paralegals Typically Work?

A Paralegal professional can work in various settings, including law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and legal aid offices.

They may also find opportunities in banks, real estate companies, insurance firms, and healthcare institutions where legal expertise is required for compliance and regulatory purposes.

The ideal role for career-switching Paralegals depends on the type of position they are seeking, the credentials earned, and the requirements of the new role.

Paralegal Skills Are Highly Transferrable

Credentialed Paralegals who have completed a national or regional paralegal studies program (and those holding an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree) have a diverse set of skills that extend well beyond providing hands-on support in legal proceedings.

Seeking an alternative career in the public sector allows skilled

Paralegals with years of experience improve their job outlook by honing the skills gleaned through supporting licensed attorneys, practicing family law, and assisting with mergers and acquisitions in corporate legal departments.

Alternative Careers for Paralegals

Now that you understand some of the key roles and responsibilities of today’s legal assistants, let’s look at ten alternative careers for Paralegals seeking to make an easy career switch.

Highly skilled legal administrative assistants can easily translate their workforce skills into some of the following related professions that don’t require giving legal advice or getting additional training.

The alternative careers below are ideal options for legal assistants with several years of substantive legal experience.

  1. Legal Secretary: Today’s legal secretaries who hold a paralegal certificate, Associate’s degree, or Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline can work under supervision or independently in states that license paralegals as high-paid legal secretaries who document and transcribe legal proceedings, depositions, and draft legal time-sensitive legal documents.
  2. Compliance Officer: Large corporations and law offices, are typically the largest employers of supervised and independently licensed Paralegals. This means Paralegals holding a Bachelor’s degree can easily parlay their years of work experience into the role of Compliance Officer who implements and monitors compliance programs to ensure organizations adhere to laws and regulations.
  3. Court Clerk: Today’s Court Clerks assist in managing court proceedings, maintaining records, and providing information to the public, which is an easy transition for highly sought-after Paralegals, according to the BLS.
  4. Contract Administrator: Transitioning Paralegals seeking to make a linear leap in their occupational employment can become Contract Administrators who oversee the preparation, review, and maintenance of contracts for legal compliance.
  5. Claims Adjuster: When it comes to longevity in the Paralegal job outlook, transitioning into the role of an Insurance claims adjuster is ideal. Claims Adjusters are trained to Investigate insurance claims, evaluate damages, and negotiate settlements on behalf of policyholders and insurance companies.
  6. Legal Consultant: The BLS and individual states who license paralegals report that the demand for independent legal consultants is growing. Bachelor’s degree-holding legal assistants who contact their local state Bar Association and complete their due diligence will learn if they are eligible to provide Independent Legal Consultant services. Licensed Legal Consultants are paid through billable hours based on customary rates within their zip code.
  7. Corporate Trainer: Certificate and Associate’s degree-holding legal professionals can try their hand at corporate training by educating new hires on company policy and local employment laws.
  8. Human Resources Specialist: Years of professional practice in supporting local attorneys and judicial professionals make for an adept Human Resources Specialist. HR Specialists are typically familiar with national, state, and municipal rules and laws that make this job choice an ideal option.
  9. Legal Technology Specialist: With their understanding of legal processes and procedures, Paralegals can excel in implementing and managing technology solutions tailored for law firms and legal departments by optimizing software systems, training staff on new technologies, and ensuring compliance with data security regulations.
  10. Mediator: Legal mediators facilitate civil communication through discussions and negotiations between opposing legal parties. Their ultimate goal is to help the opposing sides reach mutually beneficial agreements — instead of hashing out their differences in court. Their knowledge of legal processes and conflict resolution techniques makes them well-suited for this negotiation-based role, which plays a critical part in alternative dispute resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Responsibilities of a Paralegal?

America’s BLS says that paralegals’ responsibilities vary depending on the type of position they hold and the expectations of their role.

Paralegal job duties typically include:

  • Conducting independent legal research
  • Drafting legal documents like contracts and pleadings
  • Organizing, drafting, and maintaining case files
  • Assisting in trial preparation
  • Communicating with clients, witnesses, and stakeholders

Paralegals also play a crucial role in ensuring that administrative tasks are completed efficiently and within prescribed timelines to support the overall legal process.

What is the Highest Paying Paralegal Field?

The highest-paying paralegal fields depend on the type of position held by legal assistants.

High-paying positions typically include working for large corporate law firms, specializing in complex litigation or intellectual property law, or focusing on areas such as healthcare, finance, or international law.

Paralegals with advanced certifications and experience in high-demand legal specialties are likely to command higher salaries.

Additionally, geographic location can also impact the earning potential of paralegals.

What Paralegal Skills Easily Transfer to Other Jobs?

Their attention to detail, analytical skills, and understanding of legal procedures make them valuable assets in providing comprehensive support to attorneys and clients alike.

Paralegals can leverage their transferable skills to pursue roles in different sectors where their expertise is needed.

The following paralegal skills are highly valued in various industries and can transfer beyond the legal field into industries that can include human resource management, compliance, technology, and beyond.

  • Strong research abilities.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Document preparation and organization.
  • Communication skills.
  • Proficiency in legal software and databases like Westlaw
  • Negotiation skills.

Chelsea Wilson

About Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson is the Community Relations Manager for Washington University School of Law’s distance learning LLM degree program, which provides foreign trained attorneys with the opportunity to earn a Master of Laws degree from a top-tier American university from anywhere in the world.

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