Serve the Public Good
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.
Click to view opportunities related to Law + Government in Handshake. Customize your filters and learn how to search for UCSB career success!
Gain Experience: Paralegal Services
For complete information on internships, student jobs, research opportunities, extracurriculars, and more, review our starter tips to Gain Experience in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.
Because there is not one linear path into the profession, you can gain experience in many different ways to prepare for paralegal work. Consider your past experience (e.g., coursework, part-time jobs, volunteering, research, and internships) and you may discover that you have already gained some of the fundamental qualifications of a paralegal without even knowing it!
Seeking experience in the legal field is not only helpful to observe the environment, but it also helps to build your resume for paralegal positions. Most employers that hire full-time positions prefer applicants who have experience working in a law office and a foundation of paralegal skills, thus a law-related experience is a very valuable addition to your resume if you are able to obtain one.
Types of Experience
Paralegals work in a variety of settings, some which may surprise you and some which may not. Begin by taking time to determine which setting or population of clients could be a good fit for you, including government units, community organizations, corporations, agencies, schools, financial institutions, and law offices.
When you are ready, click below for more specifics to build yourself up.
Because there is usually a limited selection of opportunities to gain formal experience in legal work, building your initial experience for entry-level roles typically requires a focus on transferable skills. Fear not -- leveraging a collection of various experiences to transfer into the paralegal field can actually be easier than you think!
Here are some common skills for aspiring paralegals to obtain through experience:
- Professional writing
- Independent problem solving
- Ability to meet strict deadlines
- Strong customer service
- Clear oral communication
- Attention to detail
- Ability to take direction
- Deductive reasoning
- Ability to multitask
- Computer proficiency
Continue to develop these transferable skills and document past moments when you have showcased each of them for future applications and interviews. Once you feel confident in your skills, you may be ready to gain specific legal knowledge and experience by working in the field.
Gaining experience in the legal field can include shadowing, interning, volunteering, and working. To break into these roles, search for part-time positions as a “law clerk” or “legal secretary”. These positions typically include preparing legal documents and performing secretarial duties.
For added support and resources, consider attending pre-law events with Career Services and Pre-Professional Advising in Law at UCSB to meet professionals. It can also benefit you to utilize your network and reach out to law offices to create your own experience proactively.
Visit our Internships page for recommended tips to develop your own internship.