Paralegals work under the direct supervision of a lawyer or attorney. It is important that there are clearly defined roles as they are not allowed to give legal advice or perform duties that are meant for licensed attorneys and lawyers. According to the National Association of Legal Assistants, these are some of the roles and tasks that a paralegal would be expected to perform:
- Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with the client.
- Locate and interview witnesses.
- Conduct investigations, statistical and documentary research.
- Conduct legal research.
- Draft legal documents, correspondence and pleadings.
- Summarize depositions, interrogatories and testimony.
- Attend executions of wills, real estate closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings and trials with the attorney.
- Author and sign correspondence provided the paralegal status is clearly indicated and the correspondence does not contain independent legal opinions or legal advice.
Where do paralegals work?
While the majority of paralegals work within law firms, they may also hold positions with corporate legal departments, financial institutions or government agencies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job descriptions for two different types of paralegals.
- Corporate paralegals help lawyers prepare shareholder agreements, employee contracts, stock-option plans and financial reports. They may monitor government regulations to ensure companies are aware of any new legal requirements.
- Litigation paralegals conduct research for lawyers, collect evidence for hearings and depositions, draft settlement agreements and maintain documents. They may also help coordinate and organize things for a trial. This may include reserving office space, setting up computers and other equipment and transporting evidence and documents to the courtroom.
Paralegals are also able to specialize in other legal areas. Family law, personal injury, criminal law, bankruptcy and immigration are among a few of the areas that are specialized. Law firms are expected to hire more paralegals as they are trying to reduce costs and combine paralegal duties and legal secretary duties. The employment of paralegals is expected to increase by 15% from 2016 to 2026 according to BLS.gov.
Ed4Career offers Complete Career Training Programs including the Paralegal Professional Program. This course bundle includes Paralegal 1: An Introduction, Paralegal 2: Intermediate, Paralegal 3: Advanced and Keyboarding Made Easy. Upon successful completion of our 3 levels of Paralegal courses (900 hours), students will be prepared for an entry-level position as a Paralegal and will be prepared to sit for the NALA national certification exam to become a Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) or Certified Paralegal (CP).