Schools Training

There Is More to Law Careers than Law School

27 JAN 2013
Career Path : paralegal

If you have a knack for law, but you don’t want to take on the full commitment of law school itself, you might want some more ideas of what to study to get you working quickly. A talent for law means you’re good at research and you’ve got a careful eye for duty. You could take legal assistant or paralegal training, but there’s another surprising choice if you’re also more numbers minded: payroll courses.

A legal assistant generally helps with the administrative side of running a law firm, department or legal aid clinic. They combine administrative assistant training with computer programs and procedures common to an office, with an introduction to the work involved in practicing law. Paralegals take this one step further and assist the lawyers they work under with the interpretation of the law via the research they do.  In order to be qualified to handle payroll for a company, as a bookkeeper or an accountant, you need and excellent understanding of the laws and regulations.

There are a host of very strict rules and regulations governing the minimum wage, overtime pay and statutory holidays. Slightly different rules govern salaried and hourly employees. But just as importantly people handling payroll must understand the tax system. Just as paralegal courses explain the intricacies of the laws around mortgages, wills, civil and criminal suits and many other facets of the legal system, the payroll courses graduate knows what to deduct and how to deduct.

On the subject of deduction, they also know how to sensitively handle things like garnished wages. It is not that unusual in a large company for at least one employee to have some sort of lien on their earnings, either back taxes or as part of court ordered support payments. Both paralegal courses and payroll training stress client privacy.

Both paralegal courses and payroll courses will often end in some sort of professional membership. There may be a certification examination where they prove their competencies, or it may simply rely on the established accreditation of the program. That’s the responsibility of the school you choose, who will clearly and proudly state what professional organizations have approved of them. Keep in mind though, even after you graduate there may be additional fees for membership!

Regardless of what you pick, one of the best parts about both payroll courses and paralegal courses is the post-graduation employment prospects. Nearly every company with more than a handful of employees needs someone qualified to oversee payroll, while paralegals are an essential part of any established legal practice. And, should you change your mind about your career later, it still pleases to employees to know you have the advanced literacy skills that understanding the law takes.

Visit Algonquin Careers Academy for more information on careers that use the law.