Paralegals assist lawyers in the fast paced world of litigation. This is no easy task, for it requires a steadfast demeanor and the ability to sort through thousands of documents. The paralegal must compile a concise report which offers the lawyer a sturdy foundation for which he/she can formulate an effective strategy.
As a result of their crucial role, a paralegal is given access to a plethora of public and private records. In order to compile pertinent information regarding laws, facts, previous court decisions, precedents, and testimonials, a paralegal must be given free reign to obtain whichever information is relevant.
Before a trial even takes place, there are a multitude of mandatory procedures that aid in the information gathering process. To properly compile past decisions and precedents a paralegal will have access to a series of court rulings. A paralegal will be able to examine all trials or hearings from all state, municipal, and supreme court rulings.
This access enables a paralegal to ascertain precedents, and rulings based on previous cases. The ability to access precedents and previous rulings allows a paralegal to apply judicial rulings to the specific case in question. Granted there are thousands upon thousands of court rulings that have been documented throughout the United State’s history.
To help streamline the information gathering process, and allow a paralegal to find a court ruling with ease, the specific documents are labeled with docket numbers. A highly organized system, docket numbers are a series of alpha or numerical characters assigned to identify particular court rulings.
The formats associated with docket numbers vary based on state and law firm, but, the organizational technique is practiced by all legal enterprises. The introduction of docket numbers has made the investigation process more efficient for paralegals; as oppose to wasting time searching for a particular case, a docket number offers a paralegal a quick and easy way to locate a judicial ruling.
A large source of information that a paralegal has access to is government records. Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) a paralegal is guaranteed the ability to access all records or documents published by the federal government. The FOIA, enforces the federal government to disclose information or certain records to permissible people upon request.
Requests for admission is another vital tool used by paralegals for accessing certain information relevant to the lawsuit. Requests for admission come in two different forms (truth of facts and genuineness of documents), but are always conducted before the trial.
Requests for admission occur in the discovery of phase, and are vital for the establishment of information and facts as they pertain to a case. Rules of admission follow a strict code outlined by the Code of Civil Procedure. Requests for admissions allow a paralegal to gain access to documentation, facts, testimonials, and evidence that is crucial for the formulation of a legal strategy. Paralegal’s have access to all information that is not considered classified or privileged.
This permitted activity allows paralegals or legal aids to compile a report which contains facts, testimonials, evidence, previous court rulings, and statements that are pertinent to the lawsuit in question.