Law + Government

Serve the Public Good

icon of justice scales for careers in law + government

Are you driven to improve your community? You’re not alone.

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the amount of people who work in areas of Law + Government. Over 22 million people, or 16.7% of the U.S. workforce, work in federal, state, and local governments, over 1.3 million lawyers practice within the United States, and close to 300,000 individuals work as paralegals or legal assistants. 

With so many people working together to build society at its core, opportunities are prime for Gauchos looking to make a difference. Careers in Law + Government share some similarities and a few key differences--learn how you can join the movement of public servants and prepare yourself for a successful future.



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Explore Grad School: Paralegal Services

For complete information on graduate school search strategies and the application process, review our starter tips to Explore Grad School in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

Paralegal Certification

While traditional graduate education is not required to become a paralegal, some employers prefer or require a candidate to have obtained a paralegal certification. Other times, employers are willing to thoroughly train you while working and do not require a certificate for this reason.

Given these considerations, if you are confident that the paralegal profession is within your long-term career goals, a certification can be a worthy investment toward your future competitiveness as an applicant.

Did You Know?

A significant majority of paralegals have some type of formal education within the profession.

According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), 85% of paralegals obtain a degree or certificate related to paralegal services.


Paralegal certifications are often available through community colleges or university extension programs. For example, UCSB Professional and Continuing Education offers a Paralegal Studies certificate that you can begin exploring, as do extension programs at other UC campuses.

Because most professional programs are strictly certificate-based, financial aid is usually not available for this type of schooling, or it is available with strict limitations. It is best to speak with each program regarding funding or other questions you may have.


Law School

If you are interested in paralegal work, you may have also considered law school or a future career as a lawyer. It is important to note that working as a paralegal does not increase your chances of getting into law school.

While this may be surprising to learn at first, the process of going to law school is part of a highly specialized career path for becoming a lawyer, which involves unique criteria that law schools use to evaluate candidates for their degreed programs. Prior career experience in paralegal services is not incorporated into this criteria, so it is best to consider this as an entirely separate career path. 


Learn More

For complete information about law school and becoming a lawyer, we recommend that you visit our Legal Practice page.

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