The global pandemic has brought with it a trend of working from home, however, it has been common for paralegals since before that.
Online paralegals are almost everywhere, and hence the trend of remote work in the legal field has risen with the demand.
If you have given importance to obtaining certification as a paralegal, you will be preferred by employers and have comparatively good job prospects.
Virtual paralegals are gaining popularity among law firms and corporations as a means to significantly alleviate the workload of in-house professionals.
See: What is a Paralegal
Also see: How to Become a Paralegal
Do Paralegals Work From Home?
Paralegals have the flexibility to choose their work environment based on their preferences and career goals.
Even though many paralegals work in traditional office settings with some travel requirements, others opt for a freelance career, allowing them to work from home or anywhere else they prefer. Freelance paralegals have the freedom to establish their own client base and work on a remote basis.
Read more: Working as a Paralegal
Most Paralegals Work From Office
Paralegals typically work in traditional office settings for law firms, government organizations, or private corporations during regular hours. They may need to work extra hours, meet deadlines, and occasionally travel for investigative work or trials.
Working from a centralized location allows for effective collaboration and access to resources. While remote work is less common, physical presence at the workplace ensures efficient communication and coordination with the legal team.
Some Paralegals Can Work From Home
As times change, there is a growing recognition of the potential for paralegals to work from home. While it may be more common for paralegals to be employed in traditional law firms, there are opportunities for remote work in some areas.
Many tasks performed by paralegals, such as drafting legal documents, conducting research, and communicating with clients, can be effectively carried out from a home office. Additionally, the availability of team messaging apps facilitates seamless communication and collaboration with colleagues in a remote work setting.
Some Paralegal Jobs Are Completely Work From Home
While it may seem uncommon, there are some paralegal positions that are fully remote. These positions can be either full-time or part-time/temporary. Law firms often hire part-time paralegals during heavy workloads where hiring additional permanent staff may not be feasible due to cost constraints.
Additionally, individuals with paralegal training can explore online work opportunities as legal transcriptionists. Unlike other general transcription jobs, legal transcription requires specialized knowledge of legal terminology, making it a unique and valuable skill set.
Read more: Paralegal Skills
What is a Virtual/Freelance Paralegal?
A freelance or remote paralegal handles tasks such as working on legal documents, conducting witness interviews, and preparing experts for litigation, arbitration, and criminal trials. According to the International Virtual Assistants Association, virtual legal assistants have the flexibility to work from home or their private office, providing support to one or more clients across various legal specialties.
While this aligns with the role of paralegals working from home, different organizations may have different definitions or criteria. For example, the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) defines paralegals who assist attorneys and complete legal work as virtual paralegals, but this may not include paralegals working for corporations, non-profit organizations, or other entities.
To impress potential employers as legal assistants working from home, it is essential to have the necessary knowledge and qualifications. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), individuals with adequate training and education for administrative work in government agencies, corporations, or other employers can be considered qualified as paralegals.
Both the ABA and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) state that paralegals retained by attorneys are expected to work under supervision. Virtual paralegals may work remotely under the supervision of one or more attorneys. They can be independent contractors or directly employed by their clients or employers.
Also read: Paralegal vs Legal Assistant
Virtual Paralegal Advantages
- Work from home or any remote location, offering flexibility and convenience.
- Allows paralegals to balance personal obligations, such as caring for young children or other commitments.
- Freedom from dress codes and daily commutes.
- Highly flexible work schedule, allowing for part-time or split-shift arrangements.
- Ability to work for multiple employers, providing variety and potentially increased job opportunities.
- Independence as an independent contractor, with the ability to set own time limits and prioritize family and personal obligations.
- Opportunity to explore different areas of law and determine a career path.
Know more: Paralegal Tips To Fast Track Your Career
Virtual Paralegal Disadvantages
- Self-employed contract paralegals are responsible for managing their own paperwork, including taxes, insurance, and retirement and vacation savings.
- They do not receive paid sick days or vacation leave, which can be a disadvantage for those with complicated health situations or family members relying on their insurance.
- The responsibility of managing finances for taxes, insurance, and other expenses falls on the individual paralegal, which can be challenging for some.
- Virtual paralegals pay their own taxes, which may be higher compared to working in an office.
- Virtual paralegals with W2 contracts may receive tax benefits and other related benefits through their employment arrangement.
The recent trends of Covid-19 have led to increased competition for virtual paralegal jobs. Many individuals have recognized the advantages of running their own businesses and having control over their careers.
Attorneys have also realized the cost-saving benefits of hiring virtual paralegals instead of W2 employees, as it reduces overhead costs, benefits, and other related expenses.
How to Be Successful in College in 2022 – 7 Simple Tips to Succeed
How Do Scholarships Work? Read This First…Truth is Shocking
7 Best College Majors 2022: What Should I Major In?
How to Choose a College – 10 Things You Must Consider in 2022
Why Go to College? Top 13 Benefits for Adult Students in 2022
Top 5 Best Alternatives to Community College for 2022