17 Pros and Cons of Being a Paralegal

Just like any other profession, there are advantages and disadvantages to being a paralegal.

If you are thinking about becoming a paralegal, this list is for you!

Paralegals play an important role in the legal field.


They assist attorneys in a variety of legal tasks such as conducting research, creating legal documents, and speaking with clients.

While there is a good side to becoming a paralegal, the job also comes with several drawbacks.

Pros of Being a Paralegal

1. Great Stability/Demand

The job outlook for paralegals is excellent because they are always in high demand.

Between 2019 and 2029, employment of paralegals is expected to increase to 10 percent.

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This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There is a constant need for legal services in various industries such as real estate, healthcare, and finance.

If you become a paralegal, you can feel confident knowing that you have a stable career.

2. Opportunities for Advancement

Being a paralegal means you’ll have plenty of opportunities for advancement.

The more experience you have, the more doors you’ll open.

For example, paralegals can become law firm managers, legal analysts, and even senior paralegals.

It’s also very typical for paralegals to move forward to law school to become lawyers.

This means that you don’t have to retire as a paralegal.

If you are looking for more of a challenge, you can easily move up the ladder.

3. Work Varies

A paralegal’s workload varies.

There isn’t anything boring about a paralegal’s job.

Every day presents a challenge.

Paralegals handle various tasks and work on different aspects of the law such as family law and criminal law.

You will have plenty of opportunities to learn something new.

If you like a career with challenges and change, this could very well be the perfect career choice for you.

4. Bar Exam Not Required

If you aren’t willing to go through the additional eight years of schooling to become an attorney, being a paralegal may be the perfect fit for you.

No bar exam is required to become a paralegal, unlike an attorney.

However, what is required to become a paralegal is a certificate or associate’s degree.

Additionally, you’ll have plenty of chances to work within the criminal justice system.

This means you will still have the chance to make a huge difference.

5. Flexibility in Schedule

Working as a paralegal means you can enjoy having a lot of flexibility in your schedule.

However, there will be times when you have appointments on your calendar that you can’t miss.

The good news is that if you have children and a family to take care of, you will have a lot of free time to tend to them.

6. Practical Salary

Paralegals may have a decent salary.

On average, they make $56,000 annually.

Some paralegals on the lower end make at least $37,000, while those on the higher end can make up to $95,000.

These numbers are a lot higher than the average profession that requires you to have a two-year degree.

On average, those careers pay $52,000 each year.

The more experience you have as a paralegal, the more you will earn.

7. Make a Difference in Clients Lives

Another huge perk of being a paralegal is being able to make a difference in the clients’ lives you are helping.

Your job is to ensure that clients get the justice they deserve.

You may also be responsible for defending clients in various cases.

If you enjoy helping people, this could be the perfect career for you.

It’s a great way to give back to the community.

8. Plenty of Opportunities to Network

If you do plan on advancing in your career as a paralegal, you will love the fact that you will have plenty of opportunities to network.

You will meet various people in the legal field from law enforcement officials to judges.

If you are good at what you do, these connections can lead you to a higher-paying position elsewhere.

Paralegals also have access to joining organizations to allow them to network.

Some of these organizations include NALA and the National Association of Legal Secretaries.

9. Work Environment Varies

Not only will the type of work you do as a paralegal vary, but the work environment also varies.

For example, paralegals may work in courts, banks, law firms, government agencies, nonprofits, and more.

This provides you with many options to choose from.

Maybe you want to only deal with certain types of law such as employment or corporate.

If you choose to specialize in employment law, you may consider working for an advocacy group.

Cons of Being a Paralegal

1. Work Long Hours

While you may have a flexible schedule, you will still have to work long hours.

Additionally, you will be faced with a high workload.

But, this will largely depend on the caseload of the attorney you are working for.

There may be times when you have a lot of free time in your schedule.

But other times, you will have long days.

This is definitely a commitment you must decide whether you want to make.

2. A lot of Pressure

Working as a paralegal comes with a lot of pressure.

Many people in the office will depend on you.

Clients are also relying on you.

Even the smallest errors on your part could result in serious consequences.

While some people work well under pressure, others tend to fall apart when faced with too much stress.

If you get overwhelmed easily, you may want to reconsider a career as a paralegal.

3. School is Required

Attorneys obviously spend a lot of time in school.

This isn’t the case if you are considering becoming a paralegal.

However, you will need to obtain a certificate or at least an associate’s degree.

This could take anywhere between 1–2 years.

If you’re looking to avoid college or want to start a new career right away, this could be a huge disadvantage for you.

4. Tedious Cases

As a paralegal, you don’t have the authority to pick and choose which cases you want to work on.

As a result, you will face tedious cases from time to time.

While the job of a paralegal is interesting, you will have unfavorable moments.

There will also be times when you must complete work that could otherwise put you to sleep.

5. Requires Consistent Learning

Learning about the law doesn’t stop once you have graduated with your paralegal certificate.

Once you have landed your first job as a paralegal, you will constantly learn new things.

While this may seem exciting in the beginning, you must be willing to put in the hard work.

You will forever be expanding your skills, which may or may sound favorable to you.

6. Not a lot of Acknowledgment

Paralegals have very little power when it comes to providing legal advice to clients and signing briefs/pleadings.

While they do a lot of work, they don’t receive enough credit.

The attorney will be responsible for giving advice to their clients and signing pleadings, etc.

Most paralegals may not feel acknowledged.

Additionally, there are some attorneys who only use their assistants to perform administrative tasks instead of more in-depth legal work like they are capable of performing.

7. Plenty of Dull Tasks

Besides drafting legal documents and performing legal research, there are plenty of menial tasks involved in a paralegal’s daily duties.

These small tasks can take up your workday.

You will have to make copies, answer phones, and organize your attorney’s calendar.

Additionally, you may have to check in clients, set up conference rooms, and file paperwork.

8. Little Room for Advancement

Even though there are opportunities to grow within your field, you can only go so far.

Being a paralegal leaves little room for advancement unless you go back to school and earn a higher degree.

You may work your way up to an office manager or senior paralegal, but these opportunities are scarce in smaller law firms.

Should You Become a Paralegal?

If you are passionate about the law, becoming a paralegal may seem like a good fit for you.

If you have legal experience, the transition to becoming a paralegal may work out perfectly for you.

However, while becoming a paralegal may mean making a good salary and making a difference in people’s lives, there are also several downsides to the job.

You will have many long days and will face a lot of pressure.

This is a career that you must be 100 percent sure about pursuing.

If you think you have what it takes, a career as a paralegal can be very rewarding.

Pros and Cons of Being a Paralegal Summary Table

Pros of Being a ParalegalCons of Being a Paralegal
Great Stability/DemandWork Long Hours
Opportunities for AdvancementA lot of Pressure
Work VariesSchool is Required
Bar Exam Not RequiredTedious Cases
Flexibility in ScheduleRequires Consistent Learning
Practical SalaryNot a lot of Acknowledgment
Make a Difference in Clients LivesPlenty of Dull Tasks
Plenty of Opportunities to NetworkLittle Room for Advancement
Work Environment Varies

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.

2 Responses to 17 Pros and Cons of Being a Paralegal

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    Donald Miranda #

    This post is a must-read for anyone contemplating a career as a paralegal. The pros and cons are outlined clearly, making it easier for individuals to assess if this profession aligns with their goals.

  2. Avatar
    Jeremy Molina #

    As someone aspiring to be a paralegal, this post was incredibly helpful. The list of pros and cons gives a balanced view, making it easier to weigh the potential challenges against the rewarding aspects of the job.

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