Paralegals – The World Is Thy Oyster

In spite of ever increasing difficult economic times, there are a few areas of increasing job opportunities. These include paralegals and legal assistants.

Paralegals and legal assistants are actually the individuals who help out the lawyers with much of their easier, “less legal” daily tasks, which leave lawyers more time to work on the “bigger” work. In spite of their ability to carry out various tasks that was once thought to be exclusively for lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants are still explicitly prohibited from carrying out the actual tasks that lawyers do such as setting legal fees, giving legal advice and presenting cases to the court. Legal assistants may be bright but lawyers still have the last say on things and are still considered the authority on legal matters.

Paralegals are now considered to be an increasingly important component in most law offices today and as their value has increased so has competition for their services. As more and more law offices are using paralegals there has been a parallel rise in the skill level and expectations of paralegals.

In the past, most paralegals were trained on the job but as more and more people recognize the great career opportunity that has unfolded before them a whole new paralegal educational training field has been developed.

This has been a nature progression in the evolution of the field. As the demand has grown so has the expectations, as I indicated a little earlier and many firms are no longer interested in hiring a wannabe paralegal but want a fully trained, highly competent paralegal from the first day. As a result, most law firms will now only hire paralegal applicants who have postsecondary paralegal education or university graduates with a certain number of paralegal credits.

Not only are paralegals in great demand within law firms but they’re also being pursued by corporate legal departments and various government offices that specialize in different areas of the law.

Another key aspect of a typical paralegals job description includes assisting the lawyers in preparing their cases. This includes: closings, trials, hearings and in some instances high level corporate meetings. A little known fact about paralegals is that they are often the ones given the task of searching for relevant judicial decisions, legal articles as well as any other materials that may be deemed important to the case.

It’s extremely important that paralegals understand all the relevant facts about the cases they are assigned to investigate and they are taught to never dismiss any bit of information as irrelevant because it may turn out to be the key bit of information needed to win a case. Another important skill needed to be a good paralegal is a keen eye for detail and the ability to multi-task. Paralegals are given a wide range of duties and they need to be able to move from one task to another when the need arises.

Paralegals are also required, in many offices, to analyze and organize all the research data they’ve put together into a well written, informative and useful report that their supervising lawyer can reference to help them build their cases.

If you have been thinking about a career in law, starting out as a paralegal or a legal assistant can be a great stepping stone and learning opportunity before taking the next step and a becoming lawyer or even if your aspirations are simply to become and stay a paralegal it’s still an exciting career choice. With all the possibilities a paralegal career offers today, the allure is becoming hard to resist for many.

If the allure of a paralegal career is calling you, check out the links below.

Shelby Ryan

Post Author: mark

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