Paralegal Job Description

If you are interested in a career as a paralegal, than look no further. The job is very similar to that of a lawyer, with the exception that the former can’t offer legal advice or represent cases in the court of law. These professionals step in to help the lawyers do the many tasks that are needed to build a court case.

Educational and Skill Requirements

A paralegal is required to have effective communication skills. He should have a thorough knowledge of legal terminology. Most of them specialize in the litigation process and are fully qualified to help out the attorneys. The educational requirement for this job is the knowledge of law and computers. You can take a certificate course to become one. Bachelor or Associate degrees are also available. These degrees take about two years for completion. You can also voluntarily opt for related certifications from National Association of Legal Assistants, National Federation of Paralegal Associations, or American Alliance of Paralegals. The work environment in this job is mainly indoors with occasional visits to law libraries and courts. These professionals work in many industries apart from the legal world, depending on the area of specialization they choose. For example, there are patent, bankruptcy, nurse, immigration, and real estate paralegals.

Duties and Responsibilities

He is responsible for collecting relevant information related to a case such as researching the case laws, etc. He is supposed to crosscheck the facts and their validity. These professionals help the lawyers by doing the preliminary research before a legal document can be prepared. They perform the task of summarizing and checking legal documents. The drafting of documents is handled by them. Simple tasks like locating the witnesses, preparing the pleading, and obtaining affidavits are carried out by these professionals. They also, at times, keep track of files and transcripts and organize meetings. In short, they do the groundwork for the lawyer and assist him in his job. Since different types of paralegals specialize in different industries, their job description also differs. A nurse paralegal often works with attorneys who have cases relating to medicine. These professionals are specialized in medicine. A real estate paralegal has experience in the real estate industry and helps with case building and collecting research for the cases involving real estate. Bankruptcy paralegals are in high demand these days and are involved with cases pertaining to bankruptcy laws. Immigration paralegals assist clients through the process of immigration. Job description of those like patent paralegals varies accordingly. There are a plenty of career opportunities in this field as one gains a lot of experience to become a full-fledged legal attorney.

Salary

According to several surveys, the average salary is around USD 54,000 per annum. Paralegals working with law firms get paid the most. Salary for beginners can vary from USD 38,000 to USD 47,000 per annum, depending on whether they work for government or a corporate firm.

Working as such a professional can help a person interested in the field of law in getting the required exposure. Thus, try exploring as much as you can about this profession, and also make sure that you are firm with your decision of pursuing this career.

Litigation Attorney Job Description

Litigation attorneys, also referred as trial lawyers or litigators handle civil cases and represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil, as well as criminal cases.

Job Description

For an attorney, there are a number of things involved in handling a typical case.

A basic task of a trial lawyer is that he or she carries out a preliminary investigation to make sure that there is adequate evidence for filing a lawsuit. Conversely, in case of the defendant, he checks whether the evidence is enough to defend that individual.

This initial investigation can involve finding witnesses, taking their statements, interviewing the client, gathering requisite documents, and investigating the facts leading to the potential case. Apart from this, litigators also engage in pre-litigation and trial settlement discussions for resolution of matters, prior to a lawsuit being filed.

Litigators draft a number of pleadings and motions, for representing the plaintiff or defendant. Typically, the summons and complaints are drafted by the plaintiff’s attorney for commencing the lawsuit. The defendant’s attorney responds on his behalf, to the summons.

This task of a litigation attorney is referred to as discovery. Here, typically, the parties involved in the case, exchange information related to the case. Interrogatives, depositions, and a few other devices are used by civil litigators for getting vital information related to the lawsuit. This is important for the attorneys, for the purpose of obtaining related information, identifying issues, and formulating a case strategy.

Another important thing an attorney is responsible for is the pre-trial stage, for which the attorneys get done with the discovery, weeks prior to the trial. That is when the pre-trial meetings happen. If the case is settled at the pre-trial stage, then the attorney will not have to see the courtroom for the trial.

Even for the pre-trial, they consult and advise their clients. A litigation lawyer also comes up with a trial strategy based on facts and evidence. Drafting and arguing pre-trial motions is also done by them. Steps towards a possible lawsuit settlement are taken at this stage.

This is where a litigator’s law skills are tested. If the case is not settled in the pre-trial stage, the attorney has to work all the way, to present his arguments, as strongly as he can, in front of the judge. Cross-examination, examination, opening, and closing statements are a very important part of a trial.

Apart from this, on occasions, a litigator may settle a case at any juncture during the period of litigation. Finally, if the outcome of the trial is not satisfactory, according to him/her, he or she has the right to appeal in a higher court.

Salary of a Litigation Attorney

An individual’s experience and his position matter a lot when it comes to the salary. On an average, the nationwide pay for an attorney is around USD 120,000, starting from USD 61,000. This amount can fluctuate, depending on the region in which, he or she is practicing. For instance, average salary in northeast is USD 145,000, in southeast it is USD 120,000, and in the northwest, it is USD 110,000.

The resume of a litigation attorney can contain salary expectations attached with it. But another intangible thing which cannot be put there are the wishes of those who have been helped by him. All in all, much like many others, this job is challenging to the core.