Paralegals are not glorified office managers. Paralegals are often described as a lawyer’s right hand. They perform a crucial role assisting lawyers in a variety of tasks to maintain a law office. Paralegals help the operation run smoothly, manage the flow of important legal documents, communicate with clients and witnesses, and conduct some of the research that will support attorneys’ arguments. Good paralegals skillfully handle essential elements of a case, freeing the attorneys to do what they do best.
Typical Paralegal Job Duties
Common paralegal duties include:
- Organizing files
- Gathering facts and information
- Legal research
- Drafting and formatting documents
- Taking notes during trials
- Maintaining transcripts
- Preparation for trials and hearings
- Organizing evidence and documents
- File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents
- Calling clients, witnesses, and lawyers
Typical Paralegal Education
Most paralegals have an associate’s degree, while some employers prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. A paralegal training course will typically cover legal research, legal writing, the legal applications of computers, and other academic subjects, such as corporate law and international law.
Essential Paralegal Skills
A paralegal career is a good fit if you’re interested in law, language, legal terminology, typing, listening, analyzing data, researching, writing, and learning. Some of the most important traits for a paralegal include:
- Skilled at database management: Technological talent is one of the most sought after skills.
- Ability to organize and prioritize: A paralegal juggles a variety tasks in one day, so you have to be able to quickly organize and prioritize your duties. A central role of a paralegal is to bring order to case facts, legal documents, and files.
- Excellent writing skills: You may be expected to draft pleadings, briefs, and other complicated legal documents that form the foundation of a case. You must master clear, concise writing.
- Attention to detail: Basically, the paralegals are in charge of the details. Strong attention to detail is crucial for may paralegal tasks, such as checking legal authority, reviewing documents, and managing trial logistics. Legal writing can be detailed and precise, and a paralegal must follow prescribed processes and formats.
- Research skills: A paralegal must be able to confidently conduct legal research on the internet, analyze case information, and cite legal authority. You will be asked to locate a variety of information from different sources.
- Collaboration: A great Paralegal is a team player, coordinating with members of the office.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills: Most of a paralegal’s day is spent communicating with clients, witnesses, lawyers, and investigators. The paralegal acts as the attorney’s liaison with all the people involved in a case.
- Professionalism: The stakes can be pretty high in a law office. Attorneys, clients, witnesses, clerks, and judges expect impeccable professionalism from paralegals at all times.
If you have mastered these essential skills, you’ll have a great chance at landing a good job and developing into an excellent paralegal. Professional development is another important step to becoming a rock star paralegal. Luckily, Meditec has you covered. The convenient, online paralegal training you need is just a click away. Enroll today!