As the number of paralegals have grown, the need for more generalized
paralegal work has decreased while the need for more specified work has
Since legal departments and organizations assume many different shapes
and sizes, the nature of paralegal work can also be classified by the extent of
work performed, as well as the location and the general affiliations provided
by the paralegals.
Though the trend does remain
for many paralegals to become specialized within certain fields of work, many
still find it to their advantage to be extremely flexible to the kind of
positions they will try to undertake, while others may find it within their
interest to engage and excel in very specified tasks.
While specialized paralegals in certain fields are as varied as the many
assorted fields of law, it is perhaps best to focus expressly on the categories
of paralegal that are describes by the nature of their position and their
Traditional paralegals and legal assistants will represent those in the
field who adhere to the generalized role of the paralegal, as someone who works
for a single organization while performing the traditional administrative and
research tasks associated with a paralegal.
Freelance paralegals represent paralegals who break from the traditional
paradigm of working for one office, who work for a legal department office,
company or organization in the capacity of an independent contractor, who works
under a specific contract to perform either general paralegal work through or
apply knowledge and experience in a specified field of the law.
Legal document technicians, lay advocates, and document preparers are
variations on the paralegal role who perform very specified roles in their
paralegal work, limited to drafting documentation or providing limited degrees
of legal representation in administrative hearings.
Independent Paralegals are usually perform work as part of a for hire
agency or temp agency, usually for work provided on the short term, and who
could either work in a temp or virtual capacity.
Law and document clerks usually work in a far more restricted capacity
that paralegals, and specifically often work for the court or some other form
of the public sector.
All of these categories cover the broad spectrum covered by paralegal
and legal assistant classifications, and it is best to go into each of them, in