Paralegal Duties - What Does A Paralegal Do?

You may be curious about paralegal duties and what can be expected of you once you begin your job.

Keep in mind legal assistants perform a variety of duties. They aren't necessarily the same from day-to-day. And, duties differ between government and private law firms.

Of course, too, your duties are determined by the needs of your attorneys and the demands of their schedules.

The great thing about paralegal work is the variety of specialties! No two paralegals perform the same tasks given that the demands of bankruptcy paralegals vary from the demands of patent paralegals, for example.

Some of the other specialties include:

  • litigation;
  • real estate;
  • corporate;
  • probate and estate planning;
  • intellectual property;
  • family law; and
  • labor law.

Paralegals are invaluable members of the legal team. Their understanding of legal concepts, and the law combined with a practical knowledge of legal forms and procedures is critical to their success.

So where does that leave you for duties you may perform?

Some (but not all) typical duties of a paralegal may include:

  • investigating facts;
  • performing legal research;
  • drafting legal documents (discovery requests or responses);
  • assisting at trials and hearings;
  • reviewing and organizing records and documents;
  • participating in corporate work and real estate closings;
  • engaging third party vendors for support;
  • coordinating depositions;
  • organizing document productions;
  • calendaring deadlines and providing appropriate follow-up;
  • researching local rules;
  • interviewing witnesses;
  • maintain various business entities;
  • maintain minute books and other corporate records;
  • draft and prepare minutes, consents, stock certificates;
  • Research state corporate laws regarding blue sky compliance;
  • draft and arrange for UCC filings, amendments, extensions;
  • Prepare and file appropriate documents with the SEC;
  • Prepare closing checklists, coordinate closings;
  • communicate with beneficiaries;
  • prepare estate and gift tax returns;
  • assiste in IRS audit reviews;
  • reviewe deed, title and appraisal reports;
  • process asset information requests;
  • review bank statements;
  • notarize documents; and
  • organizing and maintaining client files.

The more you show an interest in the firm's practice, the more work you'll receive. Getting lots of work can be a double edged sword, however. You need assignments to develop skills and broaden your knowledge, but you don’t want to drown.

Stay on top of deadlines and ask for help when needed. You'll juggle many tasks; it’s simply the nature of paralegal work. As you increase your skills and understanding, your competence increases and so too does your salary!

The list above is not comprehensive. It's simply an insight to some general and specific duties you might find in litigation, real estate and estate planning.

There are many other tasks not listed, but you’ll learn those out on the job!

In the meantime, hone your skills.

Get very good at performing your paralegal duties. Work to become indispensable to the legal team. Strengthen your understanding of legal concepts and procedures in your specialty and you’ll raise both your value and your wage.

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