According to recent statistics, roughly 3.7 million employees, or 2.8% of the entire U.S. workforce, work from home for at least half the time. With various collaboration tools and cloud-based technologies on the rise, the number of remote workers is only expected to grow in the coming years. While having to “work” beyond office walls has its occasional disadvantages, the personal benefit and flexibility that remote workers enjoy do outweigh all cons in most cases. If you’re looking to set yourself up for a homebased legal career in 2019, the good thing is that earning your certificate can now also be just as convenient as the career that awaits you. With multiple ways to get certified for specific positions and numerous jobs becoming remote, here are 3 legal careers that can lead you to successful at-home job for years to come:
In the simplest form, transcription is the process by which live or recorded audio is converted into an electronic document. Simply put, it is writing down speech. When it comes to legal careers, transcription is an excellent choice for those who are looking to work at home. For one, the resources you’ll need to perform the job is likely already set up at your place. At times, people will require having their recordings made by legal professionals such as judges, lawyers, or advocates put down in writing. In some instances, an entire court session may require the same. This is where transcribers come into play; they listen to the audio and type it. A legal transcriber is required to possess knowledge on legal matters to be able to effectively work in this type of transcription. Therefore, a degree or an equivalent training is required. The job offers plenty of opportunities to work from home thanks to its flexibility and compatibility with digitization. In fact, a lot of professionals in this line of work function as independent contractors who offer their services to a legal clients in the US and abroad. Plus, studying and training to qualify as a legal transcriber can be done online. The basic skills you’ll need to become a legal transcriptionist are:
- Proficiency with transcription software
- Fast (85+ words per minute) and accurate keyboarding skills
- Solid understanding of legal terminology
- Excellent command of the English language
- Strong proofreading skills
- Proficiency with popular word processing, spreadsheet, and billing software applications
- Above average computer skills
While the US government finds it challenging to track the salary of home-based legal transcriptionists specifically, those with close to similar job descriptions do earn an annual salary of $20,000 - $60,000.
The International Virtual Assistants Association defines virtual assistants as “independent contractors who, from a remote location, usually their home or an office, support multiple clients in a variety of industries by providing administrative, creative, and technical services.” Much like a legal transcriber, the job requires you to have basic knowledge of legal matters and terms. Traditionally, paralegals worked on-site to support attorneys. But today, paralegal is becoming an on-demand career that has allowed professionals to now work from home. Paralegals can provide numerous legal services, although they are refrained from doing tasks that are considered practicing law, such as representing a client in court. Instead, most paralegals are focused on assisting attorneys by preparing for hearings, trials, and meetings and by communicating with clients. Paralegal certification is also available online, while your basic setup at home would likely require a suitable computer set up, fast internet connection, quiet working environment, and a separate phone with a good audio and headset. According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for a traditional paralegal is between $48,362 and $61,752. Salaries in this field are often determined by education level, experience, and location. A bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies will be required for many higher paying positions, although, you can definitely rank up as you gain more experience. Additionally, you can make more money working from home since you can have more clients and be more flexible with your working hours.
If you find that paralegal duties are a bit overwhelming, you can start as a legal secretary and climb your way up. Legal secretaries require extensive knowledge of legal proceedings and documentation, which is why their job are often compared to that of a paralegal. However, while the latter is more focused on substantive legal work, legal secretaries are more inclined on administrative tasks that include managing files, maintaining calendars, scheduling appointments, preparing documents, making travel arrangements, maintaining data bases and taking notes during meetings, among other duties. According to Salary.com, the average Legal Secretary salary in the United States is $47,282 as of December 28, 2018, but the range typically falls between $41,497 and $55,014. Like the other two careers mentioned in this article, you can train online to earn your certificate and qualify as a legal secretary. Of course, along with that legal secretaries also get to enjoy the perks of being able to work from home.