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.