Over the last half century or more, the overall size and scope of the government, on both the state and federal level, has grown dramatically.criminal activity, development of major corporations and financial institutions, fluctuations in the banking and real estates markets, and an increased reliance on international relations with the emergence of the United Nations, to name some of the more major ones.
The emergence of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency would represent two examples of new emerging agencies, many of which has state equivalents.
As a result of this, most of these agencies began to compile legal departments composed of federal attorneys that would ensure that full legalities were to be maintained, and investigate where infractions have been committed. Since these agencies run on taxpayer money, they are expected to keep costs to within limits, which means that they, like the rest of the legal industry, began to place much of their legal work in the hands of paralegals.
Paralegals in government agencies could in many differing scales of capacity. Therefore, working as a representative in a “field office” would likely mean a paralegal would be required to perform an assortment of more generalized tasks.
In almost every case, a paralegal working in a government agency will be expected to, in some capacity, to be have a background in the field their agency oversees, or inevitably develop a familiarity with it. This ultimately means that the legal work of these paralegals will likely become extremely specialized by the standards of the entire paralegal industry.
Despite a reputation for not always being the most lucrative form of legal practice, many employers will favor previous government experience generally over private experience, as government work still carries an aura to it that may be valuable to a paralegal who is considering the long term values to even limited government experience.
Most businesses today that are large enough to be considered a corporation will generally have a standing legal department to manage and perform many of the day to day legal needs associated with running a business.civil litigation that came to affect many different organizations and the resulting increase in legal costs, and
The rise in civil litigation was a major factor, however, especially as corporations grew in significant size and had trouble overseeing their considerable assets, thus causing more individual problems that parties were forced to seek legal restitution for (admittedly, the size and liquidity of these corporations made them seductive targets for predatory litigation, as well).
It was this rise in costs that led to the need for paralegals, who could perform legal tasks for far less than a lawyer, thus limiting the billing costs on the behalf of these firms. Many businesses, however, did one better, taking many legal concerns in house and creating legal departments, staffed by lower paid paralegals overseen by a selection of business lawyer who took care of the business’s legal work.
The growth in legal departments was chiefly economic, and part of this was based in large part on the rise in legal needs driven by the changing state of employee relations in American corporate culture. In addition to this, federal oversight of many individual corporate activities, products, and means of production became far more diligent, with new federal agencies emerging all the time and older ones growing in size and power (the Environmental Protection Agency would be such an example). An increased reliance on contracts for employees and for most business transactions also emerged during this time.
All of these assorted legal activities were delegated by these businesses to their legal departments. Paralegals working for a legal department can usually be expected to do large amounts of document writing, and usually in specialized ways. Therefore, paralegals who in legal departments can usually expect very specialized, repetitive work, and could also be expected to work in high volume environment with many other personnel.
It should be noted that legal departments vary based on the size of a business, and that a legal department for a smaller company can still subsist on one or two attorneys and a few paralegals.
A law librarian is a legal professional who may work in a law school, legal library, court, or law firm. In a small, community legal library, a librarian may have many of the same tasks that a traditional librarian would have, such as organizing reference material, acquiring new reference material, and aiding researchers in using reference tools. A legal librarian working in a government library will be responsible for aiding attorneys, judges, and also the general public.
A legal librarian would help prosecution or defense attorneys in finding resources to build their case, as well as research legal precedent pertinent to their case. A judge may need assistance in finding materials which will help him decide on a ruling. Since common law is heavily based on precedent, there is a variety of information on past rulings that will aid a judge in issuing a fair ruling.
Members of the general public may conduct research in a legal library when attempting to find information about drafting a will or filing a claim. A legal librarian would direct them to the correct place to find the information they are seeking. Some legal librarians are employed in private law firms where they are responsible for maintaining the reference material belonging to the firm. They will organize and update reference material as well as aid attorneys in research.
Librarians must have a master’s degree in library science (MLS), and law librarians typically have a law degree in addition to this. A Juris Doctorate (JD) is usually not necessary to become a law librarian, however, many hiring institutions do require a JD, and it is generally held that a law librarian without this degree would not be adequately able to do his job. Instead of receiving a JD, some legal librarians may receive legal training from the institution that hires them. Whether or not a law librarian has a JD may also depend on the position this person holds within the library.
The director of a legal library within an academic institution (a law school) must have a JD, while other less demanding positions may not require one. For librarians employed in a county or state legal library, qualifications normally vary by jurisdiction, and when working for a law firm, it generally depends on the preferences of hiring attorneys. However, it is normally beneficial for a legal library to obtain a JD, or at least to have a legal background with a vast knowledge of legal terminology.
Describing the workplace of a hypothetical paralegal will involve a great deal of generalization due to the heterogeneous nature of the paralegal profession. Therefore, a paralegal who works in a corporate legal department may have duties that are entirely different from a paralegal that works a district attorney.
Often, the job description of one paralegal can vary so intrinsically from the job description of another paralegal that it would not be hard to believe that the two paralegals came from That’s how varied the paralegal profession really is.
Nevertheless, there are constants to the workplace of nearly every paralegal that some broad generalizations can be formed. the scope of an office, depending on the organization.
In nearly every jurisdiction, paralegals are required to be supervised by an attorney. First, it prevents As a deregulated profession, paralegals are generally given a great deal of latitude in the tasks they are allowed to perform, but a key is that they are not allowed to sign legal documents or dispense legal advice, leaving a key elements of oversight in the hands of their supervising attorneys.
Usually, levels of urgency in a particular workplace can vary depending on the organization, but legal work as a rule tends to rely heavily on dates and deadlines, so the more precise a paralegal’s duties may be, the more likely there will be a sense of urgency and stress in an office and a tendency for paralegals to work long hours. Most organizations that do require long hours generally pay overtime, which could be as high as time-and-a-half, and thus can give the paralegal ample opportunity to pad their paycheck with extra income, provided they are willing to put in the extra hours.
In general, the workplace for a paralegal can very dramatically, but it will nearly always be a demanding environment that places a great deal of responsibility on the paralegal in question.
There are many positions within the field of law that do not always require a law degree to perform. A law clerk is an assistant to a judge whose main responsibility is to research legal precedents to prepare a judge for court and write legal opinion. There are several different types of clerks such as, a court clerk, a judicial law clerk, or a clerk who may be employed in a law firm. Many law clerk work during law school, or just after graduation, to gain experience in the profession and network with attorneys they may collaborate with in the future.
Private investigators (P.I.s) are hired by a variety of different people to perform investigatory work and uncover specific information. They may be hired by an attorney to investigate parties in divorce or child custody cases; a private citizen to investigate a missing person; an insurance company to determine whether a claimant has committed fraud; or a business owner to investigate the wrongdoing of an employee.
A law librarian is a legal professional who may work in a law school, legal library, court, or law firm. A law librarian must have a master’s degree in library science (MLS) and, although it is not always required, many also have a law degree. Typically, law librarians who works in an academic institution or a government legal library must have both their MLS and juris doctorate (JD), however this is not generally the case in a public or community library.
The clerical staff in a law firm provide basic support that keeps the office running. The clerical staff will generally be responsible for: answering the phone, greeting clients, word processing, managing the attorney’s calendars, setting dates for hearing and depositions, managing office supplies, etc. Depending on the size of the office and the amount of work brought in by the attorneys, a firm may have several different positions to perform these tasks, such as a legal administrator or an office manager.
A legal administrator is an individual in charge of the business aspects of a law firm, such as marketing tasks, accounting, delegating responsibilities to employees, supervising and training, and acquiring new staff. An office manager performs tasks similar to an administrator such as stocking and organizing office supplies, recruiting new staff, assisting employees, etc.
Office Procedures Manual
An office procedures manual outlines the general procedures and policies that govern the way in which the office is run. It is basically a formalization of all operations that take place within the office. It will detail the responsibilities of a certain position as well as provide an employee with pertinent information about how a task is performed. The manual should include details about compensation, vacation time, office hours, and benefits. An office procedures manual aids a business in staying consistent, training new employees, and avoiding confusion, as well as reducing the amount of error in the workplace.
Areas of Specialization:
There are several different areas of specialization within the paralegal profession. Some include bankruptcy, corporate, criminal law, estate planning, immigration law, insurance, labor law, and real estate. Each area requires a special knowledge and the ability to perform tasks specific to each category of law. Although paralegals do not have a law degree and always require supervision from an overseeing attorney, they are able to perform much of the necessary tasks to assist lawyers.