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Paralegal jobs being overtaken by technology, analysis reports

Posted Feb 7, 2013 4:10 PM CDT
By Terry Carter

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It was just two years ago that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an 18 percent growth rate in paralegal jobs through 2020, but now, according to an Associated Press analysis, a lot of that work is being taken over by technology replacing humans.

“Those (paralegals) without technology knowledge and ability are at the highest risk,” says the Estrin Report blog in a post explaining implications of the AP analysis. The answer, the Estrin Report says, is for paralegals to leverage their backgrounds for new or hybrid positions.

The blog makes a few suggestions to paralegals. One is to become a "technology whiz" in your specialty, keeping up with the latest software trends. Another is to expand skill sets—for instance, a litigation paralegal could acquire comprehensive e-discovery knowledge.

“For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines,” the AP analysis says, adding that jobs that involve that involve “repetitive tasks" are the most vulnerable.

The Estrin Report says that the phrase "routine and repetitious" was "actually in the ABA definition of a paralegal some years back. How little we knew."

Last updated Feb. 15 to fix broken AP link.

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