Entry-Level Legal Career Options
Entry-level jobs in the legal field are ones that are possible to qualify for by meeting the basic training requirements. While some of these professions may seek applicants who have practical experience, this experience may be gained through training programs, volunteer experiences or internships; extensive prior work experience is not required to pursue these entry-level legal positions.
|Job Title||Median Salary||Job Outlook (2016-2026)*|
|Legal Secretaries||$44,180 (2016)*||-19% (decline)|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||$49,500 (2016)*||15%|
|Court Reporters||$51,320 (2016)*||3%|
|Title Examiners, Abstractors and Searchers||$45,800 (2016)*||4%|
|Conflict Analysts||$52,872 (2017)**||4% (legal support workers, all other)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; PayScale.com
Career Information for Entry-Level Legal Jobs
Legal secretaries work in law offices and perform a range of administrative tasks such as producing documents, arranging client appointments and organizing files. It's possible to pursue entry-level opportunities with a high school diploma and the ability to use computer programs, although a postsecondary certificate may be an asset. Completing a course in legal terminology may also increase job prospects but there are no formal work experience requirements to pursue a career in this field.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Paralegals and legal assistants can prepare for their career by earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Although a bachelor's degree may be an asset for those entering this field, paralegals and legal assistants have no prior practical experience requirements, so it's possible to pursue entry-level career opportunities as a paralegal or legal assistant. They prepare contracts and other types of legal paperwork, locate relevant information that relates to cases lawyers are working on and prepare legal materials for court hearing.
Court reporters are legal professionals who document all things stated and all events that occur during legal proceedings. They're usually expected to have a postsecondary certificate that prepares them for their career, and since they learn through on-the-job training, it's possible to pursue entry-level opportunities as a court reporter. They may also need to be licensed by their state.
Although lawyers are highly trained and need to earn a law degree and law license, they do not need prior experience to start their career. It's common for lawyers to fill entry-level associate roles and learn from experienced lawyers in their firm. They provide legal information to clients and may prepare legal documents or present information in court on their client's behalf. The lack of experience requirements qualifies this as an entry-level occupation.
Title Examiners, Abstractors and Searchers
It's possible to become a title examiner, abstractor or searcher with a high school diploma or GED. The skills or knowledge needed, such as how to perform database searches, can be acquired through general computer courses. These professionals spend their day reviewing legal documents and locating information related to legal documents, such as contracts. Since they do not need prior work experience to enter this field, this qualifies as an entry-level legal career option.
Conflict analysts check information about potential clients to see if their law firm can represent them. For example, if a lawyer in their firm is working for one party in a divorce, then another lawyer in their firm cannot represent the other spouse. They can enter this field with a high school diploma or GED, although an associate's degree may be an asset. They do not need prior work experience to enter this career field, which means this is an entry-level legal occupation that can be pursued with minimal education.