Corporate Paralegal Career
Types of Paralegals
A corporate paralegal will assist a corporation’s legal department in many facets of corporate law–from paperwork to court proceedings. Much of the paralegals time will be spent carrying out routine tasks such as updating company files, preparing legal contracts, reviewing documents, and giving legal assistance. The corporate paralegal may handle executive summaries and directives. They also may be called on to assist with company compliance issues.
The corporate paralegal will offer services in corporate litigation procedures and other specific business legal needs. They may have to attend corporate meetings, prepare corporate resolutions, log board minutes, and other similar corporate items. Depending on the type of corporation hiring the paralegal, they may also need to have experience working on procedures and documents pertaining to finance, bankruptcy, securities, trademarks, patents, and other similar issues.
What skills are needed as a Corporate Paralegal?
Individuals who seek a job as a corporate paralegal must demonstrate experience with all manner of corporate documents. As with any paralegal position, strong verbal and written communication skills are a must. They also must be extremely accurate, and detailed in their paperwork. The ideal candidates will work well under pressure, as most corporate settings are fast-paced. Other skills needed include computer skills, a good working knowledge of standard office technology and equipment, and general office procedures.
As a paralegal moves up in responsibilities, the senior corporate paralegal is expected to have a broader range of skills including: management, working with a variety of teams within a company, and for international corporations, foreign business knowledge. A senior paralegal will also need to be proactive and able to identify issues, legal risks and potential liabilities in order to report these to the corporate attorneys.
Salary and Career Outlook
The salary for the corporate paralegal as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics starts at $37,690 and goes up to $94,960 at the senior level. Many corporations will offer benefits packages along with an annual salary. These benefits may include health and dental insurance, scholarships for continuing education, vacation, and paid days off.
As companies grow and expand, more openings are created for staff paralegals. As budgets remain tight, paralegals may grow in demand due to their reduced salaries compared to lawyers. The job outlook for paralegals in general is good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal jobs are expected to increase 14% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Education Requirements – How to become a Corporate Paralegal
The educational requirement for corporate paralegals has not been determined at this time. There is, however, a certain standard that many corporations expect when hiring a corporate paralegal. Most corporations will require a paralegal to hold a certificate in paralegal studies. Many posted job opportunities also state they want a paralegal with some prior corporate experience. The more responsibilities a paralegal has, the more experience and education are often required.
Most paralegal programs offer a multi-level opportunity. A student may choose a certificate program that focuses only on the courses needed as a paralegal. Others may choose a full degree program. Many educational institutions offer both paralegal associate’s and bachelor degrees. The classes for each degree will include general education, core classes, and specialty electives. The time to complete a degree will depend on each student’s unique situation.
Some of the paralegal specialty courses pertaining to business include:
- Business law and bankruptcy
- Real property
- Trademarks, patents, and copyrights
- White-collar crime
2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Paralegals and Legal Assistants reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2023.