What is a Paralegal?
Paralegals are assistants who assist attorneys and lawyers with almost all facets of legal work. Paralegals work in law firms, government offices, corporations, and other offices that work under the lawyer. Paralegals do legal work, but they cannot sign legal documents, give legal advice, or represent a client’s case in court.
Paralegal Job Duties:
Paralegals assist in resolving legal issues.
They do various types of work such as investigation of facts, legal research, meeting clients to discuss cases, taking written notes of the meetings of a lawyer with the client and preparing briefs, preparing legal documents such as affidavits and disposition notices, draft and file pleadings, preparing and managing documents for exhibits, file documents with federal or state court, assists the attorney during hearing, arbitrations and etc.
As there are various types of legal cases, paralegals also specialize in certain types of law such as criminal, family, corporate, etc.
There is no formal requirement to work as a paralegal, but most paralegals do have some degree in paralegal. Some of the firms provide on-the-job training. Some of the institutes and colleges offer 2-year associate’s degrees and 4-year bachelor’s degree programs.
Many certificate programs are also offered. Paralegals that have a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies get very good career opportunities. A person who has a college degree in any field and a paralegal certificate also holds good career prospects as a paralegal.
Many who already have worked as paralegals and do not have a formal degree in paralegal, prefer to take paralegal certification courses and enhance their professional status.
In order to take a certification program, it requires having one year of experience of paralegal work and also requires passing an examination. These certification programs are for a few months and provide an intense introduction to the paralegal field.
Legal office work is different from regular office work. There are laws and legal terminology to be followed. A paralegal must have a sound knowledge of rules of legal procedure, legal terminology, substantive law, etc.
A paralegal needs to have excellent organizational skills, as the work demands managing voluminous case files and exhibits to handle cases.
Paralegals have to interact with the clients, court personnel, experts, and other attorneys on a regular basis, draft pleadings, correspondence, and research memorandums, and as such paralegals must have excellent communication skills, writing skills, and aptitude for research work.
There are many factors such as work experience, education, type of work, geographic location, etc. that works as deciding factors for the pay you will get.
Usually, paralegals do make good earnings. According to the survey made by the National Federation of Paralegal Association, paralegals on average get about $50,000 salary with one-fourth of them getting below 40,000 and one-fourth of them getting above $60,000.
Paralegals that have developed some special skills and have management duties even earn above $1, 00,000.
Paralegal Job Outlook:
There are plenty of paralegal jobs available as paralegals in America. Paralegal jobs are ranked as one of the best 20 jobs in the United States. The paralegal field is growing well.
To have a career in the paralegal field, get some degree for it or join some firm and get on-the-job training. Enjoy the exciting work as a paralegal and make good earnings too. Read more articles on wink24news.