Labor Report Cites Rise in Nontraditional Jobs for Lawyers, Good Paralegal Prospects

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Paralegals, court reporters and lawyers may all find something to love in a report on expected job growth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The news is best for paralegals and legal assistants, where job growth in the decade ending in 2018 is projected to be 28 percent. One reason for the rosy job picture, according to the BLS report, is that employers are trying to increase efficiency by giving tasks to paralegals that were once performed by lawyers. Court reporters should also be buoyed by BLS projections that the field will grow by 18 percent, in part because of the growing need for closed captioning services for television programs.

Job growth for lawyers is projected to be 13 percent between 2008 and 2018, about as fast as the average for all occupations. But lawyers who are interested in nontraditional legal jobs can take heart.

On the downside, the BLS notes that “competition for job openings should continue to be keen because of the large number of students graduating from law school each year.” Perhaps because of this competition, an increasing number of lawyers are finding jobs in less traditional areas where legal training is an asset, rather than a requirement.

These nontraditional areas include administrative, managerial, and business positions in banks, insurance firms, real estate companies, government agencies and other organizations. In these kinds of organizations, employment opportunities are expected to rise at a growing rate, the report says.

Lawyers who want to go solo may have the best job opportunities in small towns and expanding suburban areas, according to the report.

A National Law Journal story on the employment outlook for court reporters explains why closed captioning is a hot employment area. A new law requires television shows to include closed captioning when shown on the Internet.

The outlook is worse for judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers. Job growth in that area is expected to be 4 percent, slower than the average for all occupations, the BLS says.

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