How Do Paralegals Assist Lawyers?
May 14, 2013
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Paralegals are legal assistants who are responsible for a variety of tasks to support lawyers. They play an integral role at law firms. Often, paralegals are responsible for helping lawyers prepare for hearings, trails and corporate meetings.
Think paralegal programs might be a good option for you? Learn more about the primary duties of a paralegal and decide if paralegal degrees are right for you.
As a paralegal, you may be responsible for investigating the facts of a case. A lawyer may ask you to conduct research on relevant laws, regulations and legal articles. Without a paralegal, a lawyer may not have time or access to the appropriate resources to accomplish this research themselves. They depend on you to provide them with the appropriate background information they need to proceed.
Paralegals may also be responsible for:
- Getting affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence
- Helping lawyers prepare legal arguments
- Collecting and organizing evidence
Each step of the research process is essential for building a successful case. Paralegals are integral to this preparation.
You may also be asked to draft important documents for a lawyer, such as contracts, lawsuits, mortgages or settlements. The documents you draft are yet another step towards preparing for court. Your work as a paralegal aids the case directly.
Other responsibilities may include:
- Prepare presentations
- Write reports to help lawyers prepare for trial
- Draft correspondences and other documents to be filed in court
Writing and revising are important skills to have when you are working as a paralegal. If you enjoy drafting documents, paralegal studies may be right for you.
The most important skill you can have as a paralegal is organization. Keeping information such as the research you complete and the documents you draft organized and accessible is essential as cases progress. Lawyers need access to this information at all times and it is your responsibility to maintain the case files.
Maintaining files goes beyond simple filing systems however. Duties include:
- Maintain reference files
- Review material for internal use
- Keep information related to cases in computer databases
Law firms are increasingly using more technology to manage documents. Various types of computer software are used to help paralegals and lawyers prepare for trails. As a paralegal, you may be expected to be familiar with electronic databases to manage case files and log research. These files would include electronic resources such as emails, data, documents, accounting databases and websites.
Though specific duties may vary depending on the size of the law firm or organization, paralegal programs can prepare you to accomplish these tasks. If you enjoy research, writing and working with technology, find a paralegal program near you today.
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