Paralegal Careers


Paralegal careers have different paths available. This article looks at a few of those choices.

Of course, in any given law office, an attorney assumes responsibility for the bulk of the work. However, there is always a need for top-notch paralegals to handle many of the responsibilities as well.

Also known as legal assistants, paralegals perform many of the same tasks lawyers do. Though a paralegal will never give legal advice, set any legal fees or present a case, a paralegal is a vital part of the legal system.

Organizational Skills Are Key

Paralegals coordinate activities of various other employees of an attorney's office, as well as maintaining the office records. They are often responsible for keeping accurate records, bookkeeping and maintaining those records.

When a matter is litigated and involves lots of supporting documents, a paralegal may work with a computer database to research, retrieve and index those materials.

One of the biggest aspects of a paralegal's career will be working with an attorney to prepare for trials, closings, hearings and corporate meetings.

While working in a career as a paralegal, investigating the facts of a case and providing all relevant information is crucial. When an attorney begins legal action, a paralegal helps prepare pleadings, legal arguments and motions that need to be filed with the courts. They may also obtain affidavits and assist the lawyer in other ways during trials or proceedings.

Paralegals generally help to draft contracts, separation agreements, and mortgages. Another set of tasks a paralegal may do could involve establishing trust funds, planning estates, and preparing tax returns.

Potential Careers As A Paralegal

Paralegal careers can be very broad. Many different types of organizations utilize the skills and training of paralegals.

Those who enter the usual fields such as litigation will find themselves working with many facets of law.

  • Litigation,
  • Corporate law,
  • Criminal law,
  • Personal injury,
  • Employee benefits,
  • Labor law, bankruptcy,
  • Intellectual property,
  • Real estate,
  • Immigration, and
  • Family law are most common.

Some paralegals specialize, as do the lawyers employing them. For instance, a paralegal working in labor law might find themselves focused on employee benefits.

Though paralegals working with smaller law firms may be engaged in more generalized work, those with more education are definitely highly prized.

What Kind Of Work Does A Paralegal Do?

Depending on where the paralegal is employed, tasks may vary. Those who work in corporate law will often be responsible for...

  • drafting employee contracts,
  • stock option plans,
  • employee benefit plans, and/or
  • shareholder agreements.

They may also work with and file yearly fiscal reports, record resolutions, prepare forms, maintain corporate minutes, and prepare loan documents for the company.

They also tend to monitor changing government regulations pertaining to their field.

Corporate paralegals are becoming increasingly important. Many organizations now utilize their skills in management positions. These manager paralegals assume more responsibility, adopting a supervisory position and oversee varying team projects.

Those who work in the public sector will find their responsibilities vary depending on which agency employs them. General litigation paralegals will look over legal materials used internally, record and maintain files, conduct research, as well as collect and analyze evidence.

They may also be responsible for preparing informational materials, to be used by the public. Many public sector paralegals work with the disabled, the poor, the elderly and others who need legal assistance.

With education and experience paralegal careers can evolve into:

  • supervisory positions,
  • litigation managers,
  • recruiters,
  • officer managers,
  • contracts administrators, and
  • technology specialists to name a few.

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