Paralegal Job Description
A paralegal is a lawyer assistant trained in subsidiary legal matters to assist a fully qualified lawyer in providing legal services such as preparing and interpreting legal documents and performing legal research. Paralegals are not lawyers and can only work under the supervision of qualified and licensed lawyers.
A paralegal should be well organized, analytical, methodical, friendly and helpful, and have the ability to carry out research and follow directions specifically. They should be able to communicate effectively to get a message across as intended.
What does a Paralegal do?
Paralegals may do some or all of the following:
- provide legal and administrative support to lawyers and legal department of organizations
- conduct legal research and analyze information
- interview clients and witnesses to gather evidence
- write reports to help lawyers prepare for court cases
- handle and respond to correspondence and telephone calls
- assist in the preparation, analysis and interpretation of legal documents
- organize case files and maintain records
Where does a Paralegal work?
Places of work for paralegals include:
- Government departments
- Local government councils
- Non-governmental organizations
- Private companies
- Legal firms
Paralegals usually work normal office, but may sometimes work overtime and weekends to meet deadlines. They work in offices, law libraries and courtrooms. They may travel to visit clients or to attend conferences.
What is Required to Become a Paralegal ?
There are no particular entry requirements to become a paralegal, but most employers do prefer to hire candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, criminal justice or a related discipline.
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Paralegals need to have:
- integrity and reliability
- good judgment and decision making skills
- good listening and communication skills
- negotiation and persuasion skills
- time management and organizational skills
- interpersonal skills
- record keeping skills
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to keep client’s information confidential
- the ability to research, apply and analyze laws, regulations and policies
- the ability to follow directions specifically
- knowledge of legal terminology
- knowledge of court procedures and legal documents
- knowledge of legal concepts
- knowledge of project management principles and practice
Should I be a Paralegal ?
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