Corporate Paralegal: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a corporate paralegal. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification options to find out if this is the career for you.

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Corporate paralegals work in a support capacity to assist businesses with their legal needs. This often includes researching, gathering, and presenting information pertaining to corporate legal matters. Corporate paralegals are typically are required to complete postsecondary legal studies.

Essential Information

Paralegals help attorneys gather information and materials in preparation for different kinds of cases, hearings or meetings. A corporate paralegal specializes in corporate law and generally works as part of a law firm or the legal department of a company.

Paralegals typically need to complete postsecondary education in paralegal studies, whether through an associate's degree program or - if they already hold a bachelor's degree in another field - a postbaccalaureate certificate program. Internships are an important part of paralegal training programs, because they provide students with the work experience that employers prefer. Rarely, a candidate who has not completed a postsecondary paralegal program may be hired and trained on the job. Paralegals can consider earning voluntary professional certification.

Required Education Postsecondary paralegal studies program is typical
Other Requirements Internship; work experience in a law firm
Certification Voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for all paralegals and legal assistants
Median Salary (2016)** $60,683 for corporate paralegals

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

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Corporate Paralegal Job Description

Like other paralegals, a corporate paralegal performs support functions in the daily operations of a legal division or law firm by reviewing, gathering, organizing and processing information relevant to case files. Paralegals are prohibited from representing clients in the courtroom, setting legal fees and providing direct legal advice but may support attorneys in most other preparatory tasks. For corporate paralegals, this includes research into the governmental and financial regulations by which the company must abide. They also create documents, filings and records related to contracts, financial reports and shareholder information.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for paralegals and legal assistants in general was expected to grow by 8% from 2014-2024, and prior experience with corporate law, finance, contracts and other relevant knowledge increases a corporate paralegal's employability (www.bls.gov).

Job Duties of a Corporate Paralegal

Many of the responsibilities of a corporate paralegal relate to ensuring that financial and capital transactions are carried out properly. They also ensure that the company operates within the legal requirements set forth by local, state and federal regulations regarding trade, governance and employee rights. Duties include preparing legal documents and case components - such as affidavits, pleadings, appeals, briefs and closings for attorneys - as well as assisting lawyers with drafting merger and acquisition documents, real estate closings and a variety of contracts.

Depending on the type of corporation, paralegals may be required to research and review public relations and media releases, trademarks, patent information and licensing agreements. Financial records - such as stock ledgers, loan and bankruptcy filings, corporate minute books and investment agreements - often fall under their purview, as well.

Corporate Paralegal Salary

In 2016, PayScale.com found that corporate paralegals earned a median annual salary of $60,683. The salary range for most corporate paralegals at that time was $42,411 to $82,472. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that job experience was an important factor in determining compensation.

Corporate paralegals support lawyers that help businesses with their legal needs, such as writing employee contacts and reviewing requirements for regulatory compliance. Corporate paralegals typically have a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies. Job growth for this profession is just slightly above the average for all occupations.

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