Government

The increasing need for paralegals has resulted in many employment opportunities for paralegals in government service. Some of these jobs are not specifically designed for paralegals, but they call on common paralegal skills. Many of them require knowledge of legal principles as well.

Federal Government

Some estimates indicate that the federal government has more than 300,000 positions that are classified as “law related.” The titles of these positions include Foreign Law Specialist, Civil Rights Analyst, and Personnel Management Specialist. The federal government also has a job classification of Paralegal Specialist.

The jobs of paralegals with the federal government are similar to those in a large law firm or corporate law department. Paralegals are employed by several federal government agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration, and others. Available positions are listed on the Federal Jobs Digest Web site at www.jobsfed.com.

Government paralegal jobs offer generous salaries, excellent benefits, a high degree of job security, and a substantial degree of professional recognition. These positions are often difficult to obtain due to an extensive application process. Some paralegals shy away from these positions because of the perceived difficulties of dealing with an extensive bureaucracy.

State and Local Government

The employment opportunities for paralegals in state and local government vary from state to state. Most states have agencies similar to the federal government and employ paralegals in departments responsible for pollution control and fair housing, as well as in positions in the legislative and executive branches. As with the federal government, paralegal positions in state government are subject to strict qualification requirements.

Local governments sometimes hire paralegals. In larger cities, paralegals may work with the city attorney or with zoning, economic development, or departments providing city services, such as water and gas. In some states, public defenders and legal aid offices are funded by local government. Information about employment opportunities with state or local government can usually be obtained through the personnel or human resources department of the branch of government.

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