Paralegal Job Responsibilities
- Client Contact
- Mountains of Research
- Drafting Legal Documents
- Interviewing Witnesses and Verifying Facts
- Administration Duties
There are certain job responsibilities of paralegals. Whether you're a paralegal in a law office focused on estate planning or one that has cases involving litigation, these are duties you'll be responsible for as a paralegal. You'll be working closely with a lawyer or the legal department in a corporation. The corporate paralegal can expect to see a median pay of around $71,000 annually and have good job satisfaction too.
From the time that a client is brought into the law office for the initial interview until the case is resolved, the paralegal will be intimately involved in the case. Often, a paralegal could know more about the client and his or her case than the lawyer.
1. Client Contact
The client will want to meet with a lawyer for a consultation. Most paralegals are invited into this initial meeting as the attorney obtains information. After the client has hired the lawyer, the paralegal will likely be the main contact for the client in the future. The paralegal will take notes regarding witnesses and other facts and follow up on the those facts later. If there are more questions for the client, the attorney could ask the paralegal to get into contact with the client for clarification.
2. Mountains of Research
If you don't love research, the role of a paralegal won't be a good fit. The main duty of the paralegal is to do research for the attorney as he or she prepares a case for trial. The paralegal searches for cases and judicial decisions that will bolster the client's case. Along with the research required, the paralegal will have to analyze the data to ensure it follows the facts the lawyer wants to place in front of the judge or jury. After finding the specific cases, legal articles and laws that are appropriate, the paralegal will prepare a report for the attorney with all the relevant data.
3. Drafting Legal Documents
One of the biggest duties that a paralegal will perform is to prepare legal documents and correspondence. It could be contracts, briefs or appeals. Many of the documents that a lawyer will present to the client, other lawyers, judges, juries or witnesses are prepared by the paralegal. It can be tedious work, which doesn't require the lawyer until it's time to review and present the documents to the interested party.
4. Interviewing Witnesses and Verifying Facts
When clients are interviewed, they present the facts of the case as they know it. It's the lawyer's responsibility to verify the facts and gather all the data into the case file for presentation to the other party or the judge and jury for litigation. The paralegal will contact witnesses, get statements and affidavits from those who would help the client's case. Other evidence will have to be gathered too. There might be medical files, doctor reports and hospital records to be obtained.
5. Administration Duties
Along with specific duties that support the clients and their cases, the paralegal can run the office too. While there might be a legal secretary to answer phones, the paralegal will often handle all the other tasks to help the office run smoothly. They might need to schedule the attorney's interviews, client meetings and hearings with the court.
The job responsibilities of paralegals will vary based on the kind of law that the attorney practices. The paralegal might specialize in one form of law or another during their education to gain the background needed for that particular type of law.