What Does a Paralegal Do?
By Space Coast Daily // January 28, 2021
Paralegals are an integral part of any law firm or law office. These important and skilled staff members are certified and qualified to carry out an array of tasks that help the function of the office and help to make the work that is done there smoother and more efficient overall.
So what does a paralegal really do? Keep reading to find out.
What Type of Education does a Paralegal Need?
In many states there are no specific requirements that are needed to make someone qualify as a paralegal. Many offices will have their own individual requirements and do suggest that you get some sort of training or degree prior to trying to attain a position at a law office.
There are different degrees that you can get to become a better qualified candidate for a paralegal including two-year degrees, four-year degrees, and even certificates that do make you a better candidate when looking for employment in a law office or law setting.
Some offices will have their own training as well that helps to further your knowledge and to make sure that you understand the requirements that are being put to you.
They will often offer training for the state that you live in and will also provide any firm specific information that you might need to practice in that particular state or to practice in that particular area of law.
What Does a Paralegal Do?
Paralegals do a huge range of different tasks that have to do directly with law and with cases as well as other administrative tasks and office related tasks that might need to be done.
They might do things like conducting research for cases, meeting with clients to get paperwork or information filled out, they may help to file documents, summarize records, and more.
Tasks that are generally tedious for a lawyer to do or that might be something that the lawyer does not have time to complete are often assigned to the paralegal team.
As a paralegal you might do things like summarize records, file paperwork, filing court documents, getting in touch with the clients, making certain that files are maintained and up to date, making sure that the case is ready to go, and even taking care of correspondence.
The paralegal is the person behind the scenes making sure that the lawyer and the law team has all the information that they need to be able to carry on and to take care of the case at hand. A paralegal is not going to be able to do things like handle wills, handle lawsuits, handle real estate or oversee paperwork that requires a lawyer to sign or be present.
A paralegal cannot handle family court matters, they cannot handle matters of child custody or child support, and they cannot handle matters of divorce or property settlement.
A paralegal has knowledge of the legal system and they know how to keep records and to file them when necessary. They are able to do the work that is needed to make certain that the office is going to function properly and that at no time the lawyers on hand need anything to keep the legal process moving.
What Skills Does A Paralegal Need?
In many instances you may work with the paralegal more than you work with the lawyer themselves. The Paralegal is a go between of sorts that is more readily available than a lawyer might be, so you are often going to be directed to them first before you see a lawyer.
Paralegals need to be very organized and detail oriented. They are often the people working with witnesses, with the people involved in the case, and they are also often responsible for keeping up with the paperwork that is necessary to file motions and to make lawsuits happen.
A paralegal has to be able to adapt and think on their feet, they should be able to handle situations that escalate quickly and should also be able to adjust to their surroundings.
It is crucial that paralegals be able to work with people as well. They should have people skills and should be able to put people at ease so that they can relate the right information and so that they can get what is needed to get the legal proceedings under way.
A paralegal needs to be able to do what the lawyer and the team asks of them and to be able to do it in the most efficient manner possible. It is important that the paralegal that is working with clients and around the office is able to keep facts straight and anticipate the needs of the team.
It is also important that paralegals have a thirst for knowledge and are able to keep learning and are willing to take courses, to do a bit of extra leg work, and that they are willing to learn new things as the laws are always changing.
Paralegals are the backbone of many law firms and Neale Fhima and his law firm know just how important they are. As a paralegal it is important to take the time to find a law firm that is going to be willing to go the extra mile to give you a place to work where you feel comfortable and valued and where you can shine and show them all the skills you possess.