Many legal professionals know that the study of law can take a lifetime. If your goal is to increase your specific knowledge of one or more areas of law, particularly from the viewpoint of a paralegal, a doctorate degree may make sense for your particular objectives. While not strictly necessary... for pursuing a paralegal career path, earning a doctorate degree may help to enhance your career readiness and allow you to more knowledgeably perform many of the tasks that may have been previously delegated to attorneys. As law firms utilize paralegals more and more frequently to take over tasks such as investigation, witness interviews, research, and case preparation, it may be more important than ever for paralegals and legal assistants to hold impressive academic credentials.
Not every doctorate candidate pursues this advanced degree in order to pursue administrative opportunities. While many graduates with paralegal degrees ultimately pursue career paths as assistants to lawyers and law firms, courts, government agencies, insurance companies, and other employers of paralegals, doctorate degree holders may have other options. Career tracks in academia, such as university-level teaching, legal research, or supervisory positions in a law library, for example, often require candidates to have earned a doctorate. If teaching paralegal courses, research, and publishing are among your professional goals, earning a doctorate degree may help you to pursue this challenging path.
Students could typically expect to engage in highly independent research and study. They may select a concentration or area of law that is of personal interest, such as civil law, criminal law, or taxation law. Select courses may highlight key knowledge areas that serve to inform future endeavors in the paralegal field. In many cases, a dissertation marks the completion of the program, which may be approached at the student's individual pace.
Is a doctorate degree right for you? Not every candidate interested in pursuing a paralegal career path wants or requires a doctorate. For individuals pursuing certain professional ambitions, however, a doctoral-level education may be necessary or strongly recommended. It is up to you to determine what educational steps may be necessary to pursuing your own goals. In most cases, a master degree is a prerequisite for beginning doctoral work. Students with previous experience in the paralegal field often find their prior knowledge to be helpful, though a professional background in law is not necessarily a requirement for beginning a doctoral program.
For candidates currently pursuing professional goals in the paralegal field or in another area of employment, pursuing doctoral studies online is often a recommended option. Students may, in many cases, continue to work and complete other personal responsibilities while studying for a doctorate degree via an online program. The flexibility and independent nature of this option is often appealing to busy candidates who prefer a self-directed learning style under the guidance of online instructors.
Doctoral work is often both challenging and illuminating, allowing candidates to apply their studies to more ambitious goals. If your plans in the paralegal field call for advanced credentials, a doctorate program may be the answer you're looking for.