Assisting lawyers can be one of the identifications for paralegals or they can have an independent status as license holders just like lawyers, who can offer legal services only in specific lower courts and administrative tribunals. However non-authorized paralegals cannot accept or present cases in any court, give legal advice, and set fees.
Law, being a very vast and complex field of profession, where all the details are kept in the mind while performing the duties, a paralegal is very helpful in assisting a lawyer and does the following:
– Interacting with the clients and interviewing them for the general basic requirements of a case, viz., facts of a case and interview the witnesses as well for their version of the story. Although this is not a very big deal which requires different set of skills, effective communication skills is one aspect which is very essential for the legal procedure, and takes up considerable amount of time from the lawyer’s schedule.
– Paralegals do the research work for every case with references provided by the lawyers, under whom they work. – Research also demands a huge chunk of time, which involves analyzing and organizing relevant material, gathering information, noting the key judgments, etc.
– Prepares documents for cases as well as for filing tax returns, drafting standard letters, for legal correspondence, letters for trust purposes, legal separation, contracts, agreements, etc.
– Paralegals also keep minute details of hearings, meetings, agendas, important deadlines, appointments, keep a track of the working hours spent on a case, etc.
– Preparing for the administrative formalities, making or procuring affidavits also come under the job description.
In the court, the paralegal helps the lawyer with the documents, handing them to him as and when he calls for it. Paralegals also help in filling up forms or petitions and thus rendering ample time to his boss to work towards the trial.
– Prepares written reports, attends court and administrative hearings and trials with the lawyer. Though most of the things that paralegals do may seem clerical in nature, they are of utmost importance in the whole legal arena.
The salary depends not only upon the size and strength of the firm he is with, but also the amount of work he is assigned among the ones mentioned above. Hope this article helped you in knowing what a paralegal does.