Have you ever wondered what a Paralegal is? Maybe you speculated, or haven’t even cared to find out.
For those unsure of what a Paralegal does (known to some as a Legal Assistant), you’re going to find out in this post.
Some would say a Paralegals’ most important role is to assist their attorney with preparing for trials, hearings, and closings.
Though that is very important, the most important role of a Paralegal is communication.
Paralegals not only review and organize client files, they can conduct factual and legal research, prepare documents for legal transactions, draft pleadings and discovery notices, interview clients and witnesses, and the list does not end there.
Before moving forward, let me be clear – do not begin thinking your attorney (lawyer) simply passes everything to his/her Paralegal, because there are plenty of laws in place that require lawyers to complete certain tasks without the assistance of a Paralegal. Your attorney works long, hard hours for you to ensure your case is a success; often leaving the office after dark or working from home.
If you’ve ever worked with a Paralegal you may have noticed a few things. Their desk is full of paperwork, they have at least three to five windows/programs consistently open on their computer, their phone rings constantly, and as disorganized as they may seem, they are not at all. The Paralegals I’ve met are very patient, detail oriented, and can work quickly while being insanely thorough. They’re quite impressive, if you ask me.
An important detail for people to remember – Paralegals are not Lawyers. Meaning, majority of your legal questions are to be directed to your attorney. Of course, Paralegals will answer what they can, but don’t assume he/she can give legal advice, go into detail about your case, so on and so forth. Your attorney is the best person to answer any questions you may have, as they possess a law degree, unlike Paralegals.
The Bar Association has more information if you’re still curious about Paralegals,
and they also have details on how you can become one.