Legal Support Services

Overview of Legal Support Services College and University Programs

Legal support services college and university programs prepare you to gain employment as a paralegal, legal assistant, legal transcriptionist or court reporter.  Areas covered in the programs are administration, law, preparing attorneys for court cases, subpoenas and research.

College and University Legal Support Services Curriculum

After you complete legal support services programs you can work for public and privately owned companies providing them with contract management, legal research, litigation support and property or estate planning support.  Academic programs prepare you to complete these and other similar functions by providing you with focused yet far-reaching curriculums.  Typical legal support services courses offered at accredited colleges and universities are:

  • Employment law
  • Court financial management
  • Leadership and management
  • Introduction to criminal justice
  • Management analysis
  • Legal terminology
  • Transcription
  • Communications
  • Computerized machine shorthand
  • Foundations of law
  • Culture and society
  • Court reporting procedures
  • Human relations
  • Computer skills
  • Contracts
  • Real property
  • Immigration law

About Legal Support Services Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees

Variety is a key factor and substantial benefit of legal support services.  Certificate and diploma courses like the Certificate in Paralegal Studies, Certificate in Court Reporting or the Diploma of Legal Administrative Assistant can be completed in as little as seven months.  Unlike Associate degrees, Bachelor degrees and graduate degrees, certificate and diploma programs generally focus solely on the training you need to succeed in legal support services.  Most colleges and universities do not require you to take electives to graduate with a certificate or a diploma in legal support services.

However, two and four-year degrees offer more balanced curriculums.  Because you take courses (e.g. electives) across a broad range of disciplines, you can use your legal support services degree to work for different types of employers.  You can also use the degrees to launch your own business.  For example, there is the Legal Assistant-Paralegal Associate of Applied Science, Legal Assistant Associate Degree, Associate Degree in Court Reporting, Legal Assistant-Paralegal Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Court Reporting and the Master degree of Science in Legal Administration. 

Skills Gained from Legal Support Services College and University Programs

Additional skills, knowledge and talents you get from legal support services programs are:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Transcription and computer science knowledge
  • Understanding of current and historic laws and court cases
  • Ability to provide high-levels of administrative support to senior business leaders
  • Familiarization with complicated property and intellectual contracts
  • Experience designing financial documents, reports and court files
Gaining Employment and Earning a Salary in Legal Support Services

Employers who seek legal support services operate businesses in nearly every domestic and international industry.  Law firms, banks, financial services companies, real estate agencies, attorney general offices, the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, state revenue, insurance and licensing departments, major retailers, the Federal Executive Branch, major professional sports associations, police departments and state education departments are a few of the employers and industries that need legal support services.

Paralegals and legal assistants earned approximately $18.99 an hour and $39,500 a year as of May 2009 according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Other legal support workers earned $22.13 an hour or $46,020 a year.  Because legal support services programs equip you to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in more complicated law areas like employment, criminal or civil law, after earning a salary in legal support services you can return to college or university and get a law degree so you can start working as an attorney.  This next step will help you to earn six-figures a year.  In fact, the Bureau reports that as of May 2009, attorneys earned an average annual salary of $138,080.

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