How Do Paralegals Help Lawyers Fight for You?
August 29, 2018
Paralegals are essential to the functioning of law offices across the country. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 290,410 people employed as paralegals or legal assistants in 2017, a number expected to grow 15% by 2026. Read on to learn what the position involves, how paralegals work alongside the attorneys at Whiting Law, and why there’s been such rapid expansion for this position.
What Does a Paralegal do?
A paralegal supports the work of attorneys. This can include any number of responsibilities depending on the employer’s need, but often, a large part of a paralegal’s job is research. They collect information, such as relevant past cases, legal articles, or data about laws. In addition to this, they help attorneys prepare to appear in court by acting as a contact for plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, and sometimes even other paralegals. They may also help with administrative duties such as writing letters, reports, or employee contracts.
Paralegal services are extremely helpful to attorneys and contribute greatly to efficient operations in law firms.
What Education or Experience Does a Paralegal Need?
Most of the work a paralegal does requires extensive knowledge of the law, as this role will regularly handle legal paperwork. There’s no standard education requirement one needs to complete; however, many community colleges offer associate degrees in Paralegal Studies or Legal Arts for those wishing to extend their education beyond a high school diploma. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees are often available in these areas as well. Certification is generally not mandatory, though many states have voluntary credentialing programs for those wishing to become professionally registered to offer paralegal services.
What Can’t a Paralegal Do?
Although paralegals are well-informed on the law and trial proceedings, there are certain activities they are prohibited from. Paralegals do not give legal advice directly to clients, and they do not represent people in court as those are restricted to attorneys. Unlike paralegals, attorneys must be licensed; anyone attempting to act as a lawyer without the proper documentation may be subject to fines.
Why Paralegals Are Essential to Law Firm Growth
Paralegals and legal assistants play a central role in facilitating client relations, and attorneys rely on them to meet a variety of needs. In addition to increasing productivity, paralegals also make it possible for legal offices to provide less costly services because they can complete many tasks that would otherwise have been done by lawyers. Similarly, many law firms have become interested in building in-house teams to provide them with paralegal services – a much simpler and more inexpensive option.
The team at Whiting Law consists of many different kinds of professionals who work as one unit to fight for our clients. Our attorneys will discuss your legal options and represent you in court, and our paralegals work behind the scenes preparing paperwork and keeping evidence organized. Everything we do is geared toward providing the best legal help to those who need it, so we can continue to fight and win case after case.
If you would like to know more about what the paralegals do at Whiting Law, please feel free to contact us today.