6 Paralegal Jobs That Aren't in Law Firms

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

If you’re considering a career as a paralegal, chances are you’ve envisioned your days racking up billable hours and case wins in a successful law firm (à la Rachel Zane on the legal TV drama, Suits). It’s a popular stereotype, but you should know that it’s not your only option. There are many types of paralegal jobs available in a growing list of industries, including health care, real estate, government, and more.

To reap the benefits of becoming a paralegal without joining a traditional law firm, consider positions with these organizations:



Working for a corporation can be one of the most demanding yet rewarding practice areas for paralegals due to its highly variable nature.


In general, these paralegal jobs require knowledge of federal, state, and county forms for corporations and partnerships, plus filing procedures. Corporate paralegals also need a working knowledge of the stock options, deferred compensation, incentive compensation plans, profit sharing, pension plans, and insurance programs that can be part of employment and partnership packages. In addition, they should have an understanding of the state’s corporations code.


Some of the duties corporate paralegals can expect to perform include drafting a variety of documents such as:

  • Resolutions and waivers.
  • Amendments or restatement of articles, articles of merger and dissolution of corporations.
  • Buy-sell agreements.
  • Employment agreements.
  • Promissory notes, leases and other documents.

These positions are ideal for paralegals who may want to advance to another position within the company – an opportunity that typically isn’t available at law firms.


Student researching paralegal jobs that aren't in law firms online.

Federal, State, and Local Government

It stands to reason that the entities responsible for passing laws and setting policy offer a variety of paralegal positions. Nearly every governmental department and agency – at the federal, state, and local levels – has a need for paralegals. To qualify for these positions, paralegals need to be familiar with the area of law in which the department or agency practices, such as insurance regulation or labor laws.


Healthcare Companies

Insurance companies, medical companies, and hospitals are a relatively new area of practice for paralegals, but it’s growing rapidly. These companies need specialized legal support, and they typically hire former nurses who became paralegals. In this role, paralegals use their extensive medical knowledge to help minimize litigation that can drive up the cost of medical care.


Judicial System

Far from being the exclusive realm of judges and district attorneys, the judicial system offers a number of paralegal jobs. In these roles, paralegals may assist with legal research and may even have the opportunity to help draft aspects of decisions. They’re great positions for paralegals with aspirations of continuing on to law school.


Opportunities also exist in the public defender’s office. Paralegals in these roles typically will assist the public defender with preparing cases and all the related duties:

  • Completing forms.
  • Preparing legal correspondence, legal pleadings, summonses, pretrial agreements, motions, and responses.
  • Compiling evidence charts.
  • Maintaining case files and arranging the proper documents, including ensuring that subpoenas are delivered to witnesses.


Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Paralegal jobs in this industry are as plentiful and varied as the number of NGOs. According to the U.S. Department of State, there are approximately 1.5 million NGOs operating in the U.S. NGOs undertake a wide array of activities, including political advocacy on issues such as foreign policy, immigration, elections, the environment, healthcare, women's rights, economic development, and many other issues.


These organizations tend to be very mission specific, and paralegals with special interests are sure to find an organization with like-minded goals. Paralegals need to know how government regulations affect the work that the NGO is doing, and they need to be familiar with laws that can be used to further the cause so that the right actions can be filed properly. 


This is perhaps the most unique area of practice for paralegals, and the duties can range from assisting at a family law clinic to filing injunctions that prevent environmental action to processing visa paperwork.


Real Estate and Title Companies

Real estate firms and title companies often have in-house legal departments, and paralegals are an important part of the team. Candidates for these types of paralegal jobs will need to know various aspects of both commercial and residential real estate transactions:

  • Drafting original sales contracts.
  • Preparing files for closings and conducting lien searches.
  • Ordering and reviewing appraisal reports and environmental surveys.
  • Preparing title insurance policies, reviewing title commitments and clear title exceptions.
  • Dealing with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and non-RESPA settlement statements.
  • Preparing sellers’ documentation, loan documentation and closing binders.

Working in this industry is far from routine, and each transaction is as unique as the individual buyers and sellers.


Student on her laptop researching paralegal jobs that aren't in law firms.

Get the Training to Become a Skilled Paralegal

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal employment is projected to grow 10 percent through 2029 – much faster than other professions. To get your foot in the door of this white-hot industry without any job experience, consider a comprehensive paralegal certificate program from USF.


Designed for paralegals by paralegals, attorneys and judges from across the country, our hands-on program focuses on the real-world skill sets in demand by law firms, legal divisions, attorneys, corporations and government agencies. Visit our website to learn more about the program and find out when the next cohort starts.


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