Paralegals are an invaluable resource for lawyers, and the profession has expanded to fill positions in banks, insurance companies, and more. What is the role of a paralegal in the legal industry?
Wegman Partners explains that paralegals are commonly thought of as assistants to lawyers. Essentially, they perform tasks that an attorney would otherwise have to do. No two days look the same for a paralegal, but the role commonly includes tasks such as legal research, client interviews, administrative duties, and preparing documents and correspondence.
Below, we’ll investigate the role of a paralegal in the legal field in more depth.
Under the supervision of an attorney, paralegals perform many tasks to assist their superiors and the clients they represent. A few of their most notable duties are outlined below.
Legal research and fact-checking is perhaps the most notable and helpful role a paralegal will fill in a law firm. A lot of research is required to decide how to handle a case and then gather all of the evidence to support the argument.
Paralegals will double-check the facts of the case, identify laws that are relevant to the argument, and peruse old cases and judicial decisions to find a precedent.
All of these services will help an attorney decide how best to handle the case, and the evidence will later be used to support their argument. The type of law that is being practiced will influence the exact parameters of the research, but every paralegal will become familiar with the process pretty quickly.
Client Interviews & Communications
Although paralegals are not legally allowed to offer clients legal advice, they are still responsible for most of the communication with clients and will often conduct interviews alongside a supervising lawyer. Their duties are to make notes of the initial interview and then conduct any further interviews down the road. They will then draft a memo for their attorney that summarizes the testimony.
In addition to their legal tasks, paralegals are responsible for many of the administrative duties that help run a law firm. These tasks include filing papers, organizing files, answering phones, scheduling meetings, and more. They may even be asked to arrange travel plans.
Administrative duties may not be the most rewarding tasks for a paralegal to perform, but they are still an important part of the job and can ensure organization and limit the amount of wasted resources, including the attorney’s time.
Draft Correspondence and Documents
One of a paralegal’s greatest skills is in written communication. A significant component of their job is to draft various documents and correspondence, including subpoenas, legal briefs, pretrial notices, and more. They are only permitted to sign documents that indicate their non-lawyer status. Oftentimes, their supervising attorney will sign as the author after the paralegal has put in the time to create the document.
Evidently, paralegals shoulder a lot of responsibility. Their efforts contribute to the betterment of the legal industry and should not go overlooked. The addition of paralegals to law firms can help make legal services more affordable for clients, streamline the casework, and produce a number of other significant benefits for both sides of the lawyer-client relationship.