Workplace Personnel

A Full Overview of Legal Personnel

A Full Overview of Legal Personnel

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.

Areas of Specialization For Paralegals

Areas of Specialization For Paralegals

Just as attorneys differentiate themselves by area of specialization, paralegalsbankruptcycriminal lawimmigration law real estate. Bankruptcy paralegals are required to have a vast knowledge of the specific bankruptcy procedures for the area in which they are employed and are generally tasked with filling out specialized bankruptcy forms for clients. 

These paralegals will work with individuals who are claiming bankruptcy and creditors, as well ask banks and other lending institutions. For most debtors, bankruptcy is a stressful time, and these paralegals will work with them and answer any questions they may have about the process.

Corporate paralegals assist attorneys who handle legal business transactions for companies. These paralegals are responsible for composing employee contracts, preparing financial reports, and maintaining benefit plans for businesses. 

A criminal law paralegal may interview witnesses in a criminal case, prepare clients for trial, research legal precedents to help prepare an attorney for a case, and must be aware of a variety of criminal legal issues. Criminal law paralegals are responsible for drafting a number of documents, such as complaints, motions, and briefs.

Paralegals specializing in estate planning are required to draft various documents including last will and testaments, power of attorneys, living wills, trusts, etc. This type of paralegal is generally concerned communicating with a client to establish the client’s financial situation so they are able to generate wills and other documents. A client will contact his estate attorney when a family member has died to liquidate the individual’s assets and prepare any tax documents that must be in order. A paralegal will help with all of these responsibilities. 

Immigration paralegals typically work for government organizations, but may also be employed by an attorney who specializes in this area. It is often beneficial for these types of paralegals to be multilingual since they are often communicating with foreign clients. They are responsible for obtaining foreign documents, such as visas and passports, researching immigration case law, preparing paperwork for citizenship and deportation, and handling client concerns.  

The duties of an insurance paralegal include filing claims, reviewing medical records, and gathering facts in a personal injury, or other type of insurance case. They are usually employed by an insurance company or a law firm that represents insurance companies. 

Labor law paralegals often deal with reviewing and preparing contracts between companies and their employees. They may also handle litigation that arise from disputes in the workplace, such as harassment or discrimination. They may work with attorneys that are representing either businesses or workers. 

Real Estate paralegals have many responsibilities including preparing contracts and lease agreements, communicating between the buyer and seller’s attorneys, and negotiating contracts. The attorney they work for may represent either the buyer or seller of a private or commercial property.

These are only some of the specializations of paralegals. Although paralegals do not have a law degree and must always work under the supervision of an attorney, they are able to perform more and more of the work that was traditionally reserved for attorneys. This makes the legal process quicker and more efficient for the public.