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What Paralegals Need To Know. In times past, it was very common, even expected, that a paralegal would spend the day in their desk typing out dictations for different legal documents done by their attorney.
However, as time has passed, the role of the paralegal has evolved and changed in several ways. Now, the paralegal is like a substitute to the licensed attorney in terms of ability to execute some legal duties. As such, to become a paralegal now, you must be formally trained in legal affairs to fully execute the duties that will be expected of you.
What Paralegals Need To Know
However, to grow in this role, you need to possess more skills than just the legal information gathered in your formal training. Here are a few qualities that can make you an exceptional paralegal:
1. Language skills
Attorneys expect that a paralegal is familiar with legal terms that are commonly used in court and law offices. You need to be familiar with such terms as interrogatories, depositions, subpoenas, and requests for admissions. Your job will demand that you write a lot of documents. It is therefore important that you are familiar with what document is relevant in what situation. You can keep a dictionary as your best friend as you familiarize yourself with not just the English language but also the language of the law.
This may seem like a small detail but it speaks volumes about who you are and how much value you put into your work. If you are attentive, you will notice that most top attorneys are the first to come in and the last to leave; even those in management positions. It is these same attorneys who will notice a paralegal with the same tendencies.
Let’s spell it out like this; a paralegal helps out with most of the documentation and information that an attorney would need for a case. So you need to be present and on time where needed, when needed. This makes it easy for the attorney to work smoothly and attend to all the case issues he may need to.
4. Communication skills
A paralegal is a constant communicator; it comes with the role. You are either communicating with the clients, or with the attorneys or fellow paralegals as you find information and material necessary for the case you are preparing for. Your written and verbal communication skills need to be sharpened at any cost. A paralegal has to write business letters, briefs and so on. You must be able to write properly structured sentences that are easy to understand, using proper grammar and writing techniques.
5. Technical skills
You may argue that you are not a tech worker and therefore should not require technical skills. However, it is imperative, especially in this error of technology, that you have some basic knowledge of tech. you will be required to use a computer, make use of the internet, type letters, send emails, courier documents and so on. Most litigation and court filing are now being done online so you need to be able to do this without too much assistance.
These qualities can easily make you stand out in a crowd of paralegals. If you are unclear on the roles of a paralegal, check here. There is a lot you can do in this position
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