Paralegals-or legal assistants-are in great demand, as they can perform many of the duties that attorneys have traditionally accomplished. Paralegals free attorneys for other duties, and are cost-effective for law firms and businesses. There are many types of home based paralegal services that you could specialize in:
- Compliance Manager – Ensuring that companies are in compliance with state and federal regulations.
- Contracts Administrator – Write, review and negotiate contracts for a company’s subcontractors, employees, and business transactions.
- Health Care Paralegal – Use your medical or dental experience to interpret medical files and analyze medical procedures for medical malpractice.
- Marriage and Family Paralegal – Handle divorce, child custody, wills and estate planning.
- Real Estate Portfolio Manager – Manage real estate holdings, find tenants, and prepare and negotiate leases. Stop evictions and unfair rent practices and handle rental agreements. Assist in preparing for closings and review title histories.
- Franchise Coordinator – Prepare franchise agreements, research franchise chains and help restaurant, retail, and other service industry franchises expand throughout the U.S.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
Paralegals in the business world may help with employee contracts, shareholder agreements, stock option plans, and employee benefit plans. They may help prepare and file annual financial reports, maintain corporate records, and help secure loans. Paralegals may also review government regulations to ensure the corporation operates within the law. You will need to have expensive training in the legal field. A college degree in Public Administration or a certificate from a Paralegal studies program may prove to be very helpful in gaining the trust and respect of new customers.
In addition to finding potential customers in law firms, you should be able to find work with schools, non-profit agencies, investigation agencies, banks and other financial institutions, the health industry, computer software companies, engineering firms, franchise operations — the list goes on. You will need a brochure to distribute as well as a highly detailed resume highlighting your expertise. You might also want to place an ad in your local Yellow Page directory.
START UP COSTS:
Of course, you must have a fully equipped home office with computers, a fax machine, laser printer and other related business equipment. You will also need a highly professional marketing package consisting of business cards, brochures and letterhead.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes in its Occupational Outlook Handbook that “Employment of paralegals is expected to grow much faster than average [at least a 36% increase] — ranking among the fastest growing occupations in the economy through the year 2006.” This translates into an estimated 77,000 new jobs by the year 2005 with the average salary for freelance or self-employed paralegals at $75,000 per year. Most paralegals charge between $30 and $75 per hour.
Make sure that you are proficient in the legal industry with a strong understanding of the field. Start contacting law firms by sending out your brochures/business cards.
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