The Top 5 Skills of Successful Paralegals
June 1, 2012
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As the paralegal career continues to evolve into an increasingly highly skilled profession, a specific required skill set has emerged, with the following KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) identified as critical to successful paralegals:
- Organization: You must have exemplary organizational skills. Trial documents are time-sensitive, and it will be your responsibility to draft them and file them efficiently. Your organizational skills directly impact the productivity of your attorney, as he/she will expect you to produce them quickly during the trial and trial preparation.
- Writing: Excellent writing skills are mandatory, as your attorney will require you to draft letters and summations for trials and other legal matters. Successful paralegals produce written work that is high quality, free of grammatical errors, and states its purpose clearly and concisely.
- Research: This is one of the primary responsibilities of a paralegal since you will be in charge of trial preparation and research. You must know how and where to go for information that will be useful to each case. West.Lab, Lexis.Nexis, and other legal databases will be your main resources, but you will also need to have strong Internet research skills for solutions that are part of a seminal case; that is, a case that is without precedent.
- Computer Skills: Computers are becoming increasingly integrated into the legal industry. Moving into the future, strong computer skills are vital for successful paralegals. Be prepared to take a computer skills test that shows you perform tasks at a minimum of the intermediate level.
- Critical Thinking: Develop critical thinking skills to rival your attorney. Successful paralegals are able to think a situation through with the same kind of precision that an attorney uses, applying logic and objectivity to arrive at decisions based on fact, rather than conjecture.
Mastery of these skills will prepare you to take your place as an important member of any legal team and serve your attorney and clients effectively and professionally. If you’re interested in pursuing opportunities in the legal field, consider enrolling in a paralegal studies program.
This article is presented by Briarcliffe College. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from Briarcliffe College.