What Does a Paralegal Do

As the name suggests, a paralegal is related to the field of law. They are not in mainstream legal procedures or lawsuits. A paralegal assists lawyers in things like interacting with the client for the first time, interviewing them, case preparation, legal research, courtroom assistance, draft legal documents, etc. A paralegal is a non-lawyer who assists lawyers in their day-to-day work.

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.

What is an Omnibus Hearing?

The term ‘omnibus’ is a French term with Latin origins. ‘Omni’ stands for ‘all’, ‘every’ or ‘for all’. It was first used as ‘voiture omnibus’, which means ‘carriage for all’. Many are familiar with the usage of this term in relation with a publication that holds several things at once or in relation with transportation. In legal terms, an omnibus is used to describe a legislation like an omnibus bill, which has the right to pass numerous amendments to a law, or multiple laws.

Definition
An omnibus hearing is a legal proceeding that takes place before the actual trial. It is scheduled at the same time the trial date is established, usually two weeks from the date of the arraignment, unless otherwise mentioned in court. The length of the hearing can vary depending on the complexity of the case. The main purpose of the hearing is to introduce evidence and facts like testimony from police officials, and any evidence seized at the time of arrest from the defendant, to the legal representative counsel and defendants (if they wish to be present). These evidences and facts are used in the actual trial in the court. An omnibus trial is to confirm that the legal rights of the defendant are being protected. Before a hearing can be held, the arraignment (or accusation in simpler terms) must occur. In this stage, the charges are read to the defendant, and he has an opportunity to file a petition. Such a hearing is held to guarantee that both the parties acquire any critical information concerning the case held by the other. It serves as an agreement that the evidence presented is considered as admissible and can be used in the trial. It also determines whether the findings like the available evidence, the witnesses pertaining to the case are sufficient for a fair trial, and in case it is not complete, what more is needed. An omnibus trial is normally followed by a trial, a guilty plea, or a plea bargain. In an omnibus hearing, the attorneys can litigate legal issues and motions before the judge, prior to the court case.

Omnibus Bill
An omnibus bill is a single document that is accepted in a single vote by a legislature. It packages several measures together. It makes amendments to a number of other laws or even entirely new laws. We can say that, it combines diverse subjects into a single bill. Reconciliation bills, combined appropriations bills, and private relief and claims bills are all examples of the omnibus bill. The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1968-69 is another famous example of such a bill. It was an amendment running into more than 100 pages, with 120 clauses to the Criminal code of Canada, and dealt with numerous unrelated issues, ranging from abortion, homosexuality, to drunk driving as well as gambling. It is a draft law before a legislature, which contains more than one substantive matter, or several minor matters which have been combined into one bill. The items are grouped together in an attempt to get them passed, mostly for the sake of convenience. In the 1970s, Congress began taking all the federal agency appropriations and combining them into a single bill. This is when it adopted the omnibus approach. Though this bill consists of a main or primary subject, it also contains various amendments addressing a wide range of other subjects. The unrelated and extra amendments which are not related to the main subject are often the result of deal-making and negotiation in the legislative process. These items are added to get support from certain legislators, which in turn guarantees that the bill is passed.

What is Rule 49-O?

Democracy itself, is defined as a form of government in which the power of a country is held by the people under a free electoral system. Political rights are also a part of human rights. So, every citizen has a right to vote for a candidate, who he/she trusts capable of understanding public issues and making decisions for the betterment of the public. However, there could also be a scenario where a voter thinks that none of the competing candidates are eligible to get his/her vote.

In such a situation, the voter is free to register for Rule 49-O and express his/her decision. The presiding officer in an election would register the voter’s decision, and the latter has to sign or give a thumb impression against the remark. Also, it has been mentioned that the negative/neutral vote would be considered at the time of counting of votes. However, the major flaw in this process is the violation of secret voting, since the voter has to inform the presiding officer about his/her decision, which is noted down by the officer. To overcome this, the Supreme Court of India recently directed the Election Commission of India to provide a ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) button in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM). The order was passed on September 28, 2013, and would be implemented from the Assembly Elections of 2013 and General Elections to be held in 2014, onwards. This button would help voters who do not want to vote for any of the candidates in the fray to register their opinion without disclosing their identity, which was the case in any earlier election process.

Rule 49-O: Text
49-O. Elector deciding not to vote. – If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect will be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

However, it should be noted that, even if the number of votes cast for NOTA exceeds the number of votes gained by any candidate, a candidate securing number of votes second to the NOTA would still be declared as the winner according to the ‘first-past-the-post’ (FPTP) system adapted by India to elect candidates in an election.

Types of Lawyers and What They Do

Many people have a common misconception regarding the profession of lawyers, that they can be approached for every legal kind of work and formality. However, you need to note that there are different kinds of lawyers that are present for carrying out specialized tasks. There is one primary responsibility for most of them, which is interceding on behalf of their clients and rendering legal advice. This article gives you a gist about the different types of lawyers and what they do.

Types of Lawyers

Criminal: His primary role is to defend individuals who have been accused of committing criminal offenses, like murder, rape, robbery, etc.

Divorce: As the name suggests, he specializes in getting a divorce and all of its formalities done in between the husband and wife.

Accident: He is supposed to handle all the insurance paperwork, recovery of medical bills, and compensation for damage to property for the victim of an accident..

Family: He undertakes all formalities of issues related to family life, like marriage, child adoption, custody of children (in case of divorce), property management, etc.

Tax: He carries out duties regarding helping clients file their yearly tax returns and looking after other tax formalities.

Bankruptcy: He aids individuals and businesses in filing for bankruptcy and reducing the impact of the bankruptcy terms and conditions.

Medical Malpractice: He helps clients in case of medical malpractices, such as wrong treatment done by the medical facility, which has resulted in serious health complications.

Civil: He is a kind of an all rounder, mainly handling business relationships, family matters, malpractices, property management, and so on.

Employment: He will help clients who have been illicitly terminated from job, are facing employee compensation problems, or are being harassed at the workplace.

Real Estate: A real estate attorney can help clients in dealing with all formalities regarding home buying or home selling, tenancy issues, lease, and rental conflicts.

Fraud: He will help people who have been victims of any kind of fraud involving money matters.

Immigration: He generally helps those who are planning to immigrate to a country, carry out the legal procedures, and become permanent residents later.

Patent: He will help you carry out the required formalities the correct way if you have an invention that you need to file a patent for.

Corporate: He will help clients in starting a business, handling the necessary paperwork, and filing the company for registration.

Life Insurance: He will help clients in legal formalities related to life insurance. This may involve handling life insurance disputes and ensuring that clients are paid appropriately by the life insurance company.

This was a brief explanation on different lawyers and what work they do. Note that there are many other types of lawyers, specializing in their own field of expertise. Some tasks and formalities are very complicated and time-consuming. And to make them easier, it is recommended to avail the services of these law professionals, who will carry out the process in a smooth manner. All you need to do is coordinate with them and keep the fees ready.