An in-house paralegal is a paralegal that is employed by a corporation, or other business with paralegal needs. An in-house paralegal is often a full-time employee but depending on their employer’s needs, they may have different kinds of schedules. While many corporations still outsource their legal needs, more and more, especially larger ones in big cities where there are many corporations, are starting to employ in-house counsel and paralegals. It is common for financial institutions, medical corporations, insurance companies and research firms, to employ in-house paralegals.
Rise in In-House Paralegals
As more and more corporations are being subjected to increased scrutiny and accountability, many of them are hiring in-house paralegals to ensure that their legal matters are taken care-of by a trusted employee rather than an outsider. As well, many corporations are finding it more cost efficient to hire in-house paralegals who are on salaries rather than hourly wages.
In-House Compared to Private Paralegals
No two paralegal jobs are the same but there are some similarities among in-house paralegals even though they may work for very different kinds of corporations. One of these is that in-house paralegals typically do not have a billable hour requirement. An in-house paralegal is also more likely to have more regular and set hours, and they do not often have to work overtime compared to paralegals that work at law firms.
The nature of an in-house paralegal’s job is different compared to paralegals who are employed at law firms. Paralegals in law firms have their work assigned to them by attorneys or senior level paralegals. In-house paralegals in corporations usually have more autonomy, variety, and responsibility in their legal roles.In-house paralegals often perform a wide variety of tasks and duties that include but are not limited to, managing business licenses, business transactions, contracts, employment law issues, intellectual property matters, compliance with federal and state laws, and litigation.
The training and certification to be a paralegal is the same for all paralegals. While this is not set in stone, many corporations that hire in-house paralegals look for paralegals that already have a diverse range of experiences. One of the many reasons they do this is because in-house paralegals need to be able to handle a wide range of tasks and work. Paralegals can get qualified to work with an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or a certificate in paralegal studies from an accredited paralegal studies program. While it is not as common, some paralegals have bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Even though different people complete their degrees in different amounts of time, a typical associate’s degree takes two years of full-time schooling to complete. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years of being a full-time student, and to get a master’s degree, it can take anywhere from one to four years to complete after a person has already earned a bachelor’s degree.
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