Paralegals perform supportive work for attorneys in law offices, government agencies, corporations, or other organizations.
As legal support, paralegals are known for their excellent organizational, investigative, communication, and clerical skills. Paralegals are trained to prepare legal documents and perform legal and factual research, as well as performing client interviews and gathering documentation during the discovery process.
What exactly is a paralegal?
As adopted by the American Bar Association in February 2020,
“A paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”
While paralegals are not allowed to provide legal advice or practice law, they work alongside attorneys. Their main function in law offices is to prepare cases for trial, getting the documents and research together for lawyers.
The roles and responsibilities of a paralegal can vary, but more paralegals do a combination of the following things in their daily work.
A Typical Day of a Paralegal
Paralegals play an essential role in supporting a legal office. In most legal offices, paralegals have the following responsibilities.
Attorneys cannot always do all of the necessary legal research to present a solid case, due to time or budget constraints. This is where paralegals come in – to do the important research for legal cases. A paralegal may research past court decisions or cases or find out all the details of a current case so the attorney is fully informed.
The paralegals in a law office may also obtain affidavits, assist with depositions, or collect information that is pertinent to a case.
In a corporate setting, the paralegal may be looking up copyright and intellectual property laws, or performing other legal preparation.
While paralegals cannot give legal advice, they are often the main intermediary between the client and attorney. Keep in mind, paralegals normally do not conduct the initial interview with the client. In most cases, the first conversation is between the attorney and client, where the attorney finds out the legal problems for which the client needs help. The paralegal may be present for the initial interview, taking notes so they can efficiently conduct future interviews with the client.
During client interviews, paralegals must conduct themselves with empathy and professionalism. The client interviews may be conducted in-person or virtually. Client interviews and communication are an important role of the paralegal.
Writing Reports and Preparing Documentation
Once the paralegal has gathered information during the fact-finding and research process, they are often tasked with writing reports and preparing documents. These reports and documents help the attorneys make decisions about how to present and argue a case and are crucial to formulating litigation strategies. Some of the specific documents a paralegal may prepare are drafting pleadings, subpoenas, complaints, interrogatories, deposition notes, pretrial orders, and legal briefs.
Paralegals that work in real estate law may assist in drafting documents such as contracts, mortgages, or deeds.
Oftentimes, paralegals may also oversee certain administrative tasks, such as organizing files, scheduling client interviews, and keeping the attorney’s schedule on track. The attorney may rely on the paralegal to help them properly schedule hearings, meetings, depositions, and trials. This type of work may seem mundane, but it helps keep the law office running smoothly.
Paralegals Have a Positive Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 12% growth of paralegal jobs in the US between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average. Metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, and the Bay Area are some of the leading areas where paralegals are currently employed.
Completing an accredited Paralegal Studies program, and earning a paralegal certification are the initial steps to starting an entry-level paralegal job and gaining experience in this rewarding career.
Do You Want to Start Your Paralegal Career?
Campus, formerly known as MTI College, has an online ABA-approved Paralegal Studies program that will help you become a certified paralegal.
Our flagship AA in Paralegal Studies program is a two-year degree program that teaches students everything they need to start their paralegal career. Graduates will also have access to professional placement services. This program is offered in our Online format where 100% of the coursework is completed online.
The Paralegal Studies programs at Campus are ABA-approved, meaning your training and curriculum will be top-notch. Campus is also accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
If you have any questions about any of our Paralegal Studies programs, feel free to reach out our team via our Contact page or call (916) 339-1500.
 Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.