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What’s the Difference Between a Lawyer and a Paralegal?

Paralegal CareerDo you know how a paralegal is different from a lawyer?

You probably know that lawyers have more training than paralegals, have more responsibilities and, as a whole, earn more. But how else are they different?

Here are the basic differences between lawyer and paralegals:

• To practice, lawyers must go to law school, take a special test — the bar exam — and then be licensed by the state(s) in which they work. Paralegals, on the other hand, usually only need to have an associate or bachelor’s degree. Although they are not licensed the way lawyers are, they can be registered, certificated or certified by one of several professional organizations.

• Lawyers can practice on their own. Paralegals can only work under the supervision of a licensed attorney. In a lawyer/paralegal relationship, it is the lawyer who takes ultimate responsibility for the paralegal’s work.

• Both lawyers and paralegals can write up contracts, prepare wills, do legal research and estate planning, interview clients and witnesses, and write legal briefs. However, only lawyers can give legal advice, set fees, sign pleadings (court documents) and appear in court as a “counsel of record.”

• Lawyers conduct depositions (giving testimony under oath). While paralegals can sit in on depositions, take notes and “read” witnesses to determine if they’re telling the truth, they cannot directly question or cross-examine someone giving testimony.

For someone who is interested in the law and is looking for an exciting, challenging career, becoming a paralegal can be an excellent career choice.

Earn Your Bachelor’s in Paralegal Online

Even if you already have a job and don’t have time to go to college full time, you can earn your bachelor’s degree in Paralegal from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. This four-year program provides you with the knowledge, skills and experience you need to compete for entry-level positions in the paralegal field, allowing you to take classes at your own pace and on your own schedule.

Everest’s instructors are legal industry professionals who can provide a practical perspective to your academic coursework. Classes are small, so you can get as much individual attention as you need. The university has a support system to help you succeed both in class and after you graduate, including a Career Services team to help you arrange interviews with employers in your area.

For more information about Everest University Online’s Paralegal bachelor’s degree program, contact Everest University Online today!

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

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