What does a Paralegal do?
Paralegals, in essence, are legal assistants, responsible for a wide range of tasks within a legal spectrum outside of the practice of law, the delivery of legal advice, and the representation of clientele. A Paralegal will to work, in tandem with attorneys, to provide the most comprehensive service to their respective clientele.
The basic paralegal job description entails a variety of duties and responsibilities that are commonly linked to the day to day responsibilities of an attorney or legal professional; a paralegal job description will entail basic duties to streamline an attorney’s work. Paralegals may assist, research, and participate in legal processes and procedures; however, they are not permitted to provide legal advice.
Typically, a paralegal may provide the following duties: provide case work and legal research for their respective law firm or legal professional, interview potential clients to gauge which legal endeavors are worth pursuing, conducting thorough reviews of case studies and legal precedents for their respective legal professionals, accessing law libraries to reveal pertinent legal matters, organize a lawyer’s schedule to streamline their business and provide information to respective clients.
More specifically, a paralegal may be responsible for the collection, arrangement, and organization of legal forms and documents with regard to a court case; individual clients may be required to fulfill a variety of paper work, claims, forms, text, and statutes with regard to any of all claims or defenses. A paralegal can authenticate the necessary documentation required, as well as the processing of the satisfied forms.
How do I become a Paralegal?
Currently, an individual does not need to obtain specialized certification to become a paralegal; however, previous work or degrees in pertinent legal areas can bolster a paralegal’s salary or increase the probability of landing a paralegal job. That being said, paralegal certification is a voluntary procedure; there exists no mandatory examination for legal assistants to assume such roles in the United States.
Although there are no set requirements to become a paralegal, the majority of legal assistants will obtain professional designations once they have gained a few years’ experience in the legal field. As stated before, certification is not a prerequisite for paralegal employment; however, it will enhance the individual’s professional credibility, income potential and employment prospects.
The majority of paralegals work in law firms; roughly 70% of paralegals in the United States work for a law firm. That being said, a paralegal may also assume a position within a governmental agency; the respective paralegal salaries are dependent on the specific industry and location in which an individual assumes this occupation.