Paralegal Job Growth Predicted, But Are Candidates Prepared?

supreme courtThe Department of Labor predicts a growth rate of 22% for the paralegal field by the year 2016. That sounds pretty good in an economy that’s struggling to create new jobs and get Americans back to work. This prediction is based on a variety of factors: a spike in the retirement rate as the current workforce ages; an increase in positions at non-traditional employers such as banks and real estate firms; a growing need for legal services by an expanding and aging national population; a trend toward assigning paralegals more tasks once reserved for licensed attorneys.

Not surprisingly, this makes for a very attractive, and ultimately more competitive, field at the moment. The Association of Legal Assistants-Paralegals (NALA) estimates there are about 600 paralegal education programs currently available. The programs range from certificate courses to master’s level programs. Some programs are ABA approved, while others are not.

It used to be that paralegals with little or no experience in the field could obtain positions and receive on-the-job training. Today, employers are seeking qualified candidates with certificates or degrees and extensive experience in specific branches of the law. But with such varied education programs and savvy candidates who know how to make their resumes shine, how is an employer supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff?

Check out recent job postings and you’re sure to find the requirement “must pass pre-employment testing”. Smart employers know they can’t rely solely on an applicant’s previous job titles or degrees to guarantee their knowledge of the field and effectiveness on the job. Pre-employment assessments allow prospective employers to target key skills and knowledge required for the position, and assess each candidate in an unbiased, standardized manner.

We know not every law firm is a corporate conglomerate with funds to burn. But don’t think pre-employment testing is beyond your reach. We invite you to learn about our flexible plans, free assessments, and library of tests targeting the legal field.  Let TestUP make pre-employment testing work for you.

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About Melissa Kolinsky

Having recently relocated from Miami, Melissa serves as Project Manager here at TestUP. She lends her talents to everything from test development to website copy, marketing, PR, and product development.

In the past, she has enjoyed stints as a teacher and tutor, family therapist, freelance editor, legal assistant, standardized test reviewer, waitress, and retail associate (ok, maybe it’s stretching the truth a little to say she “enjoyed” these last two). She holds a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Family Therapy.

In her free time, Melissa can be found volunteering at various events around Boston, spending time with family in Providence, RI, voraciously reading British murder mysteries and turn-of-the-century histories, baking tons of yummy muffins and cookies (if she does say so herself!), and paddling the occasional kayak.

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