Legal Studies Schools, Online Degrees and Programs

It takes many dedicated professionals to keep the wheels of justice turning. Students interested in a variety of legal careers choose to attend legal studies schools and programs.

Legal studies programs may include the following careers:
  • Court Reporting
  • Attorney
  • Legal Aide
  • Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Pre-Law Studies

Legal studies programs will vary in depth and length depending on the type of legal career being pursued. For example, if you have a bachelor's degree, you may only need a year of additional study to obtain your paralegal certification. Without a bachelor's degree, you may be looking at two years of study to become a paralegal or at least seven years to become a lawyer. Jobs like legal assistant and court reporter require considerably less time.

What to Know about a Legal Studies Career

Much of the work involved with a career in legal services will depend on what degree you pursue. Legal assistants and paralegals may carry out some of the same functions once performed only by lawyers. They may research case law, interview witnesses, and prepare legal documents. They may not give legal advice, set legal fees, or represent clients at trial. These tasks are reserved solely for legal professionals who have attended law school and passed the bar exam for the state where they are practicing law. Court reporters create transcripts of legal proceedings. This may include depositions, trials, meetings, or interviews. They may use a stenotype machine, a method called voice writing, or electronic reporting to obtain a verbatim record of proceedings. Training varies depending on method and can take from less than a year to over two years. Some states require licensing. Job opportunities from 2008 to 2018 should be excellent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salary varies for court services professionals. Court reporters earned a median annual wage of $49,710 in 2008, while paralegals and legal assistants earned $46,120 and lawyers earned $110,590.