You might be under the impression that most paralegals work in law offices.
The truth is that many paralegals have fulfilling careers in government, estate planning, non-profits, real estate, and in corporate law.
If you have a passion for working in the legal profession, but also enjoy business, then becoming a corporate paralegal may be the ideal career path for you.
Let’s look at what a corporate paralegal is and what their job looks like.
What is a Corporate Paralegal?
Paralegals, in a general sense, are trained legal professionals who complete legal work for a law office, government agency, corporation, or non-profit, under the supervision of an attorney. Paralegals are not licensed to practice law , but they perform essential supporting work for a legal team for which an attorney is responsible.
A corporate paralegal works under the supervision of an attorney in a private corporation, helping with important case preparation. Some of the tasks a corporate paralegal may complete are contract preparation, merger and acquisition paperwork, corporate oversight and governance, legal research, intellectual property research, filing corporate paperwork, taking meeting minutes, drafting documents, and working with outside counsel.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Corporate Paralegal
Here is a sampling of duties a corporate paralegal may be called on to fulfill.
- Review and monitor legislation and regulations that potentially affect the company’s operations and processes.
- Provide governance and oversight for compliance with regulations.
- Prepare and/or review documents for private equity, corporation formations, mergers and acquisitions, and dissolutions.
- Update company leadership with analysis and summaries of new legislation that can affect the company.
- Help make changes to, or review changes to contracts with partners, vendors, and contractors.
- Maintaining and filing corporate records, including resolutions, board of director changes, and annual reports.
- Prepare non-disclosure agreements for employees, vendors, partners, and contractors.
- Provide support for in-house legal team and outside counsel in matters related to litigation, mediation, arbitration, and responses to complaints and discovery requests.
- Renewing and maintaining company licensing.
- Assist in-house legal team with intellectual property claims and filings.
- Drafting legal documents and correspondence.
- Help prepare, file and manage documents related to business entities, incorporation, partnerships, limited liability corporations, or subsidiaries.
- Assist in preparation of IPO documents, SEC filings, and other required financial legal documents.
- Research for lawsuits in IP claims and other legal trademark disputes.
What Education and Training is Required to Become a Corporate Paralegal?
While there is no minimum educational requirement to become a corporate paralegal, many employers posting job positions are looking for a minimum of an Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies. Some employers state that they are looking for candidates with a Bachelor’s degree, and certification in Paralegal Studies. Some employers are also looking for candidates with some experience in corporate governance, corporate housekeeping, or working with contracts and general corporate matters. At the bare minimum, you should have a certification in Paralegal Studies, preferably from an ABA-approved paralegal program. Note: MTI College has a fully online Paralegal Studies program open to California residents with a Bachelor’s degree in any field of study.
Corporate paralegals may seek specialty certifications for specific disciplines such as advanced corporate law, intellectual property, litigation, or contractual law.
Salary and Job Outlook
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegals as a whole are earning about $52,920 (in late 2021). The BLS also projects job growth for all paralegals at 12% for 2020 to 2030, adding 41,400 jobs over that ten-year period.
A 2014 report by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) showed that corporate paralegals out-earn general paralegals in the United States, earning about $6, 000 more per year than paralegals in in more general areas of law.
This same report from NALA showed that paralegals in mergers and acquisitions earned the highest salary—$67,044—among all paralegal specialties, as of 2014.
Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to MTI graduates and, by providing the above information, MTI makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.
Take the First Step Towards Becoming a Certified Paralegal
The A.A. Online Paralegal Studies program at MTI College is open to students residing in California who have already completed 54 quarter units (36 semester units) in general studies and business from an accredited institution and have an Associate’s degree or higher. This fully online program will let you fast track your education to becoming a paralegal in California. For more details, or to talk directly to our friendly Admissions department, call (916) 339-1500 or fill our contact form today. A representative from MTI College will be in contact with you shortly afterwards.
If you reside in the Sacramento area, you can also attend our Paralegal Studies Associates Degree program, in our OnlinePlus format. This format allows student to complete most coursework online, with minimal in-classroom required days. Our Admissions team can give you details on our paralegal programs.