Becoming a litigation analyst usually requires completing an associate's degree or certificate program in paralegal studies from an American Bar Association-approved program. The research duties often associated with this career include delving into public and medical records, assessing financial papers, and examining a testimony or case evidence. Two optional certifications are available from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
Litigation analysts, also known as paralegals, work for colleges and universities, law firms, insurance companies, government agencies and other companies. They may specialize in legal, economic or political analysis. An associate's degree in paralegal studies or a certificate as a paralegal is usually required for employment. Optional certifications are available once the candidate has acquired job experience.
|Required Education||Associate's degree in paralegal studies or paralegal certificate|
|Certifications||National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers two optional certifications|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||8% for paralegals and legal assistants*|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)||$52,390 for paralegals and legal assistants*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A litigation analyst or paralegal helps lawyers, business executives and government officials research, assess and present information relating to legal cases. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 72% of paralegals and legal assistants were employed by the legal services industry in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The rest worked for federal, state and local government agencies (not including hospitals or education settings) or in the finance and insurance industry.
The BLS notes that jobs for litigation analysts or paralegals are expected to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024, or from 279,500 jobs to 300,800 jobs. This increase is as fast as average compared to the overall growth in employment among all occupations. The average annual wage for litigation analysts or paralegals was $52,390 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
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Litigation analysts or paralegals perform various duties that depend on the employer, the industry or the client. Their main duty is to provide support, whether it's for an attorney or a project manager, for a law firm or a corporate legal department. This might include preparing exhibits or testimony in criminal, corporate, patent or environmental legal proceedings.
Duties assigned to litigation analysts include research of case law, public records, medical data or financial statements. Paralegals may be responsible for the preparation of stock-option plans, court documents, benefit plans, client invoices, various contracts or shareholder agreements. They also can be expected to review or inspect testimony, evidence or scientific literature and prepare reports based on the findings.
Litigation analysts or paralegals will need at least an associate's degree in paralegal studies or a paralegal certificate to gain entry-level employment into this occupation. Some employers require a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies or in a related field such as business or accounting. Although not often a prerequisite, completion of the paralegal certificate or a commitment to a law degree may be preferred by employers.
There are many schools that offer paralegal courses and certificates, but not all are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Degrees and certificates from ABA-approved programs may not be required by employers but may be an advantage when looking for a job.
There are several professional organizations that offer certification for litigation paralegals. These include the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), which certifies paralegals who successfully complete the Paralegal Core Competency Exam (PCCE) or the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). A combination of education and experience is required to qualify for these certification programs.
Litigation analysts often assist lawyers, executives or government officials, and commonly work in legal services, for government agencies or insurance firms. In some cases, employers might prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, but a paralegal certificate or associate's degree will usually suffice. Eligibility for professional certification in this field requires both work experience and education, as well as the successful completion of core competency exams.