Professional corporations, or PCs, have historically played a significant part in the rise of the paralegal industry, and still provide employment to a significant number of paralegals.
In the 1970s, the amount of large corporations began to increase as larger companies would regularly buy out smaller companies, increasing their relative size.The increased size of these corporations meant that they had relatively large amounts of standing capital (and barring that, relatively large quantities of insurance), combined with relatively lax amounts of oversight in their various functions, a costly (in many respects) side-effect of these companies’ growing pains.civil actions toward corporations began to rise considerably, and with those actions came a distinct rise in legal costs.
One of the main means by which the legal profession accomplished this was with the emergence of the paralegal, an unlicensed practitioner who could take on some of the work load that would traditionally be assumed by the attorney at a far lower cost.
No longer interested in outsourcing their most basic legal document preparation needs, these new corporate legal departments were formed in order to take over the day to day legal needs of the PC. In the case of larger corporations, legal departments even began to recruit and form the infrastructure of litigation departments whose sole purpose was to handle suits and legal actions taken against the PCs.
In corporate environments, paralegals often work on full time basis, with much of the work of a typical paralegal driven specifically to the drafting of legal documents, most often contracts. In legal departments with their own litigation department, it is also common to have a large staff of paralegals on hand to perform copious amounts of research to prepare for any active or pending litigation.
With issues of corporate liability still prominent on the national scene, as well as the dramatic increase in the amount of global business done by these organizations, and the relative and consistent growth of PCs in size and scope, legal department are likely to only expand in the future.