Lawyers and judges hold the most significant roles in the legal sector. But what about those who labour behind the scenes to ensure that the attorneys are well-prepared for trial and that the evidence is strong enough to stand up in court?
Legal assistants, often known as paralegals, play a vital role in legal procedures. Paralegals help lawyers with research and the preparation of key legal papers. While paralegals do not offer legal services or advise clients, they play an important role in assisting attorneys and other legal team members to be more successful in court.
What Exactly Does a Paralegal Do?
Paralegals are responsible for various jobs and tasks that directly assist attorneys or legal teams, such as developing, managing, and organizing files, performing the necessary research, and producing papers. Paralegals assist attorneys and legal teams in preparing for presentations. They are tasked with conducting investigations, fact-finding, and researching pertinent laws, rules, and publications of their cases.
Paralegal support services help to collect evidence and organize legal papers to assess and prepare cases. They compose and summarise reports and produce communications and legal documents such as contracts. They also collect affidavits and formal declarations that may be utilized in court. Paralegals handle evidence, take notes, and review trial transcripts, interviews, and depositions. They also set up meetings with all necessary parties, such as clients, witnesses, attorneys, and outside suppliers. Paralegals organize and file legal papers, such as exhibits, briefs, and appeals, with the court or opposing counsel. Paralegals must have high school graduation or equivalent, as well as paralegal training and certification.
What Duties are Frequent in Paralegal Positions?
Here is the list of duties performed by the paralegals:
- Contribute to the making of search term criteria and lists.
- Oversee and manage claims and litigation delegated to outside counsel.
- Examine case-related information for possibly contradictory claims or areas needing additional research.
- Capability to manage and maintain discovery files, notify depositions, produce deposition materials, exhibit summaries, and expert materials.
- Support for corporate governance, including SEC reporting, board-of-directors management, and subsidiary management.
- Assist in the distribution of relevant notifications to all stakeholders.
- Serve as a point of contact between suppliers and the clerk of the courts.
- Prepare for government presentations, meetings, and filings.
- Assist in delivering informed, polite, and timely replies to consumer inquiries.
- Follow rigorous rules regarding time records and needed overtime on tasks.
- Create processes for tracking, regulating, and managing casework.
- Check that our citations are comprehensive and consistent with the source material.
- Examine and develop replies to various entities.
- Organize vast volumes of litigation-related documents (both hard copy and electronic). Maintain a master set of all documents, maintain records and communication files up to date, and create indexes of document creations.
- Assist the Hearing Officer with incoming mail by doing an initial work assessment.
Essential Skills That Paralegals Must Have
Here are some fundamental skills that every excellent paralegal should possess:
Paralegals benefit from organizational abilities by organizing papers and catalogues. This profession requires a lot of paperwork; therefore, organizing their work allows them to do it swiftly.
- Paying Close Attention to Detail
Paralegals work on many papers daily. They pay close attention to detail and never leave any document unattended.
Analytical abilities assist paralegals in gathering as much information as possible to resolve complicated legal matters via legal outsourcing services. Analytical abilities may be improved by extensively examining legal topics and identifying areas for development.
- Interpersonal And Communication Abilities
A paralegal is a lawyer’s right hand. Their profession includes direct communication with various clientele. They contact persons involved in the case to research and create statements for witnesses.
Paralegals should be familiar with presentation software and other document-creation technologies. They should know how to create databases and spreadsheets using various applications and tools.
Paralegals excel in gathering facts and evidence. They research and gather important materials from several sources, such as case laws, court orders, and legal encyclopaedias.
Where Can We Find Paralegals?
Paralegal positions are available in all fields of law, including family law, criminal law, labour law, litigation, and others. While 70% of paralegals work for law firms, others work for the government or corporate legal departments.
Paralegals are classified into three types:
- Paralegals in the private sector work for law firms or businesses and are often involved in projects, including employee benefit plans, shareholder agreements, financial reporting, government labor rules, government law, and civil law.
- Public sector paralegals work for community-based government organizations, helping with initiatives that benefit those who cannot afford legal assistance. Paralegals who work in litigation for a government agency help with file management, policy research, explanatory document production, and data compilation for agency hearings.
- Freelance paralegals work for attorneys, law firms, or legal departments on a temporary or long-term basis. Paralegals specialize in a particular field of law or provide extensive help on various issues.
Paralegals are responsible for an enormous quantity of paperwork and filing; they are extremely organized which makes this work much easier. Paralegals must be detail-oriented and efficient as well. Responsibilities might vary widely depending on the size of the company or the supervising lawyers. A paralegal must be extremely adaptive to conditions and must either love or be prepared to devote enough time to become outstanding at organizing tasks.