Every lawyer must have someone by their side to help them in performing their tasks more efficiently. These legal assistants are known as paralegals. Becoming a paralegal is never a walk in the park. Some may think lowly of them as they are only “assistants” of the lawyers, but they deserve much more credit than people normally give them. Paralegal duties are oftentimes dependent on the office where they are currently working. Some of their tasks are actually similar to other paralegals working in different industries. They mainly differ on the flexibility of their working hours as it is dependent on the current cases handled by the lawyers. In order to be more familiar with this profession, here are some of the most common paralegal duties.
Number one in our list of paralegal duties is the paperwork. Lots and lots of it. A paralegal handles bulks of paper duties regardless of how busy or flexible his boss is. Whatever the situation is and whichever stage the case proceeding may be in, paralegals will always be handling documents.
Sharing of responsibilities
If you are a paralegal in a small office, you do almost every adhoc task there is, even if it is not initially included in the list of paralegal duties. Typing and other administrative tasks must also be done by the paralegals. But if you are employed in larger offices, paralegal duties may be shared with the legal secretary. Take note that if you are new in this field, it is more likely that more administrative tasks will be given to you.
Aside from documentation and facilitation, paralegals are also responsible in researching about case histories for their bosses. Good research skills are required in this area because looking through as many cases as possible can be a key factor in winning the court hearings. This is said to be the most challenging, yet the most rewarding part of being a paralegal.
Fourth in the list of paralegal duties is having an interview with the clients and/or the witnesses. The interviews will be compiled together as part of the documents being readied for the trial.
A paralegal should have good organization skills since they would be doing court filing after both the clients and the attorney signed the necessary documents.
As mentioned earlier, being a paralegal is not any easy job. Before becoming a legitimate paralegal, you have to finish either a full degree in paralegal studies or a certificate program provided by some of the states. You must also be aware of the accreditation needed for this field. You can choose from a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree and certification. The offered programs differ in the amount of time needed to finish them. You may take any of them, depending on your flexibility but make sure that you choose an accredited school as well. Online courses are also available nowadays.
For those who are interested in working in law offices, becoming a paralegal is a rewarding choice for you. It can also pave the way to a successful career as a lawyer in the future.