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Career Options: Paralegal

Career Development Service

SCU Paralegal courses

See Course Options for all related Paralegal courses.

Contents

Paralegals perform substantive legal work in legal practices, banks, insurance companies, or other public and private organisations with in-house legal departments. A paralegal's tasks may include legal research, drafting wills, preparing legal arguments, preparing agreements, compiling court documentation, legal record keeping, legal communication and client services. Paralegals typically work with a solicitor or barrister, and become involved in most areas of legal practice. Others become valued paralegal professionals in legal firms, government legal departments, law enforcement agencies, legal aid offices, court administration, public prosecutions, and in the corporate sector in finance, banking and insurance. If they have completed the required units, they may apply for a conveyancer's licence in NSW.

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Professional recognition

The Associate Degree in Law (Paralegal Studies), with a major in Conveyancing, is accredited by the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

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Employment prospects and starting salaries

Weekly average earnings in 2014

Weekly avergage earnings for Paralegal graduates in 2014

Image source: U & Your Future SCU.

Job openings in 2014

Job openings in 2014 for Paralegal graduates

Image source: U & Your Future SCU.

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Where do SCU Paralegal graduates go?

Below is a sample of recent employers and position titles for our Paralegal graduates. Note that employers and positions are sorted separately in alphabetical order below - they are not matched lists.

Sample of employers Sample of position titles
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services Accounts Manager
AFPBusiness Support Officer/Administration Team Leader
Allianz Workers CompensationCaseworker
Attorney General's DepartmentClerk
Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors Pty LimitedConveyancing Paralegal
Australian Government SolicitorExport Co-Ordinator
Bankstown LegalLegal Officer
Blaxland Mawson & Rose SolicitorsLegal Professional Assistant
Bowring Macaulay & BarrettLegal Secretary
Church & Grace SolicitorsLegal Secretary/Conveyancer
City of MandurahParalegal
Demur LegalParalegal - Owner Operator
Department of Health and AgeingParalegal/Licensed Conveyancer
Donovan Oates Hannaford LawyersParalegal/Legal Support Officer
Family and Community ServicesProgram Manager
Grace Lawyers Pty LtdPublic Servant
Hill & Co LawyersSenior Advisor
Department of Communities, Qld GovernmentSenior Case Manager
JJ Honeyman & AssociatesSupport Team Leader
Lower Clarence Law Pty LtdTAFE Teacher
New South Wales Police Force
OMG Professional Services Pty Ltd
Shine Lawyers
Slater & Gordon
TAFE
University Of Technology Sydney
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Wridgways Pty Ltd

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Graduate and vacation programs

Graduate programs are formal programs, usually offered by government departments and large companies. They are designed to attract new graduates and feature structured on-the-job training and development. Graduate programs often close applications 12 months prior to the job starting. This means you may need to apply for these roles as early as February/March in your final year of study.

Vacation programs are usually paid, short-term contracts of 6-8 weeks. They are typically offered to students in their penultimate year of study. Peak advertising times are July and August of each year and most vacation programs take place in the summer vacation period (December-February). Undertaking a vacation program may improve your chances of being short-listed for graduate programs or roles.

Bookmark the following sites for centralised listings of vacation, internship and graduate programs.

Also monitor relevant company websites for additional information and opportunities.

You can connect with other students and search for questions and answers on a number of graduate programs at the Graduate Programs Whirlpool Forums.

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Targeting potential employers

General and specialist job search websites are listed below. These can be used to source currently advertised roles and can also be used to create your personal database of potential employers and job titles. Being a proactive jobseeker and creating a living database early on in your studies can help you to research potential opportunities and learn more about your preferred industries.

For more job search help, make sure you access the Graduate Careers and Internship Preparation resources on Blackboard in the online SCU Career Development Program (in MySCU select the 'MyCareer' link).

Reviewing company websites is the key to ensuring a good 'job fit' for you and the potential employer. It can help you identify links between your strengths and qualities (skills, experience, interests and qualifications) and an employer's needs, which will increase your chances of success in the recruitment process.

It is estimated the majority of jobs (approximately 80 per cent) are filled through word-of-mouth or networking, known as the 'hidden job market'. Developing your personal and professional networks (professional associations and university memberships, social networking, attending workshops and conferences and undertaking extracurricular activities) are all valuable ways to tap into hidden job opportunities.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest online professional network with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories; 6 million of those in Australia.

With 60% of LinkedIn revenue coming from talent solutions (recruitment), building your presence and becoming active on LinkedIn can increase the number of job opportunities available to you.

LinkedIn has fast become an effective tool for students and graduates to:

  • Present a professional online image
  • Showcase their skills, qualifications, qualities and achievements
  • Build their network of connections
  • Research potential career paths
  • Follow and engage with targeted companies
  • Connect with fellow professionals in industry and specific interest groups
  • Source national and international job vacancies
  • Be headhunted by recruiters searching for new talent

Find out how to get started and make the use of LinkedIn at LinkedIn Student Jobs 101.

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Specialist job vacancy websites

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General job vacancy websites

Career Development Service
Don't forget to visit SCU's CareerHub for job vacancies, events and resources. Use your MySCU details to login

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International job vacancy websites

Country Website
Worldwide (and Australia) Australian Volunteers International
Worldwide Career Jet (use keyword: graduate)
Worldwide Going Global
WorldwideMonster
WorldwideUnited Nations Careers
Worldwide The World Bank
Europe European Union job opportunities for graduates
Europe Eurograduate Live
Hong KongJobStreet Hong Kong
India FreshersHome
Indonesia JobStreet Campus Indonesia
Ireland GradIreland
Malaysia Graduan
Malaysia JobStreet Campus Malaysia
Philippines JobStreet Campus Philippines
Singapore JobStreet Campus Singapore
United Kingdom All About Law
United Kingdom Prospects UK
United Kingdom TARGETjobs
United States Quintessential Careers

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Professional associations

If you are interested in furthering your career, joining a professional association is a good start. There are associations for nearly every profession or area of interest and many have national, state and regional chapters you can join. Students are often eligible for significant membership discounts. Some benefits of joining an association include:

  • Updated information on industry-relevant trends and developments
  • Access to a range of resources, including publications, newsletters, webinars, conferences and training opportunities
  • Enhancing your network

So, whether you are looking to learn about career opportunities in your field, network in your professional community, access current events in your industry sector, or just have some fun while meeting new people, joining a professional association is a step in the right direction!

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