Services that Paralegals Offer. There is a common misconception that paralegals are assistants to attorneys. By definition, a paralegal is an individual who performs legal work that can be performed by an attorney. So they are not their assistants but rather their substitute. The main difference is that a paralegal is not a licensed lawyer.
That being said, it follows that the paralegal should have a wide array of functions in a law firm or organization.
Services That Paralegals Offer
The main services that paralegals offer are given as follows:
1. Conducting interviews with clients
Once the attorney has had the initial contact with the client, the paralegal can then be commissioned to do the follow-up interviews. In the initial interview, the paralegal chosen for the case is present to familiarize them with the case and the client. They take notes and should come up with a summary of the testimony for the attorney.
When it becomes necessary to gather more information on the case from the client, the paralegal can then be sent to do the consecutive interviews.
2. Legal research
The biggest part of being a paralegal is helping the attorney prepare for court. There is a lot of documentation that goes into this which calls for massive research to gather relevant information for the case. Paralegals go through the facts in the case and identify the laws and judicial decisions appropriate for the case. The research findings have to be put together in a report that helps the attorney prepare how best to handle the case.
3. Drafting of legal documents
This takes up most of a paralegal’s daily schedule. Generally, law firms and attorneys handle a lot of paperwork. When there is paralegals present, most of this paperwork is mandated to them. Such paperwork includes drafting of deposition notices, pleadings, correspondence, legal briefs, subpoenas, pretrial orders and complaints. It is therefore important that a paralegal be able and efficient in communicating using the written word. Given, this is part of the training given in law school; still, a good paralegal has to sharpen this skill to near perfection.
This may not seem like the most law-related task, but it does fall under the docket of the paralegal. See, because there are a lot of documents that go through a law firm, there must be someone familiar with the workings of the law to know what to do with what. They also help out with correspondence with clients either on the phone or through email. This, again, helps them keep the legal workings of the law firm at near perfection.
5. Other services
There are other functions that paralegals perform that may not fall under the clear distinctions above. The organization in which the paralegal works best defines what the paralegal does. The closest definition that cuts across all companies is that they help the attorneys run their business better and more efficiently.
It is clear why so many law firms and attorney-centered organizations are making use of paralegals. Learn more about their function and what they cannot do here.
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