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Legal Analyst vs. Paralegal: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A legal analyst and a paralegal are both important positions within the legal field. Though there are similarities between the two, there are also several key differences. If you’re interested in working in the legal field, understanding the distinctions between these positions can help you choose the right path for your career. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between a legal analyst and a paralegal, and we provide helpful tips for those interested in pursuing a career in the legal field.

What is a Legal Analyst?

Legal Analysts conduct research on a variety of legal topics and draft reports summarizing their findings. They may be responsible for researching case law, statutory law and regulatory law. They may also be asked to research the legal precedents set by previous court cases. Legal Analysts may be asked to draft memos, briefs or other legal documents. They may also be asked to provide support during litigation by helping to prepare for depositions or trials. Legal Analysts typically work in law firms, corporate legal departments or government agencies.

What is a Paralegal?

Paralegals are an important part of the legal team, providing support to lawyers by conducting research, drafting documents, preparing for trial and managing cases. They work in law firms, government agencies and corporate legal departments. Paralegals must have excellent research and writing skills, as well as the ability to think critically and pay attention to detail. They must be able to work independently and be organized in order to keep track of deadlines and the many details of each case. Paralegals must have a strong understanding of the legal system and be able to effectively communicate with clients, lawyers and other professionals.

Legal Analyst vs. Paralegal

Here are the main differences between a legal analyst and a paralegal.

Job Duties

Both legal analysts and paralegals perform research to help their clients make decisions. However, the type of research they do differs. Legal analysts conduct factual research, such as searching databases or looking through court records. They use this information to determine whether a case has merit and can help their client proceed with a lawsuit.

Paralegals often perform procedural research, which involves finding information about how courts operate or what regulations apply to a particular case. This helps them assist their clients throughout the litigation process by providing advice on strategy and helping them prepare for upcoming meetings with opposing parties. Paralegals may also conduct factual research when necessary.

Job Requirements

A legal analyst typically needs a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as pre-law or criminal justice. Some analysts also pursue a master’s degree in law or business administration. Many employers prefer candidates who have experience working in the legal field, so it can be helpful for aspiring legal analysts to intern or work as paralegals before applying for jobs.

Paralegals only need an associate’s degree or a certificate from a paralegal program to enter the field. These programs usually take two years to complete and cover topics like legal research, writing and ethics. Some paralegals also choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, which can help them qualify for more advanced positions.

Work Environment

Legal analysts and paralegals work in different environments. Legal analysts typically work in an office setting, where they may spend their days sitting at a desk or table and typing on a computer. They may also travel to meet with clients or attend meetings.

Paralegals usually work in law firms, but some may work for government agencies or other organizations that require legal assistance. Paralegals often work in more dynamic environments than legal analysts, as they may visit clients’ homes or workplaces to gather information about their cases.


There are several similarities in the skills used by legal analysts and paralegals. Both roles require excellent research skills, as they will often be tasked with finding information about cases or laws. They also need to have strong writing abilities to draft reports and memos. Organizational skills are important in both roles, as they need to be able to keep track of large amounts of information.

However, there are some differences in the skills used by legal analysts and paralegals. Legal analysts tend to use more analytical skills in their work, as they are often responsible for evaluating cases and making recommendations. They also need to be able to effectively communicate their findings to lawyers and other members of the legal team. Paralegals, on the other hand, use more administrative skills in their work. They are often responsible for tasks like scheduling, preparing documents and coordinating meetings.


Legal analysts can earn an average salary of $71,102 per year, while paralegals can earn an average salary of $59,185 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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