The legal profession has come a long way over the years. Many years ago, attorneys were not sure exactly how to utilize paralegals so they ended up taking on the role as secretary as well. A lot has changed over the last forty years. Even though paralegals still perform some basic administrative tasks, their responsibilities are for more important now than they ever were. However, you must receive paralegal assistant training before you can start.
Paralegals must understand the legal system and be able to assist attorneys with their cases by performing research and sitting in on meetings. It requires excellent communication and listening skills as well as the ability to allow the attorneys to focus on the more detailed work while the paralegals get the amazing opportunity to perform a lot of the background work.
Paralegals have a come long way since filing and answering phones. Here is a list of some of the most common tasks that a paralegal will be responsible for.
- Managing cases, coordinating aspects of the case, making sure everything is completed by the deadlines provided.
- Making sure documents are turned in by the deadline.
- Responding to emails, returning phone calls, and drafting pleadings.
- Legal research
- Checking facts
- Preparing for and assisting with trials.
- Interviewing witnesses
- Attending legal functions
- Drafting and analyzing legal documents.
Depending on your tenure with the law firm, you may be asked to perform more tasks as needed. Imagine if an attorney also had to perform these functions as well as their current ones. It would be nearly impossible.
The job outlook is currently in good standing and the potential to make a significant income is on the rise as well. If you have obtained your Associate’s degree you will have a better chance of a higher salary. The average salary for a paralegal is a little over $45,000 a year. However, the more experience you obtain as well as the more education, you will see that salary rise. Legal assistants, who perform similar tasks to that of a paralegal, also make between $45,000-$55,000 a year on average.
Is it for you?
Paralegals have a lot of responsibilities and tasks that they will take on throughout the day. Even though it is a great deal of hard work, you will be putting your best foot forward by studying law and assisting in the ways of the justice system. It is a rewarding career with many opportunities down the road.