What Can A Paralegal Do?

Paralegal Function and Employment Options

Employment Opportunities

The use of paralegals in law firms and other law related settings greatly enhances
the accessibility of legal services. Therefore, employers are placing an increased
emphasis on the hiring of paralegals to perform tasks that many young attorneys can
perform. Although private law firms are the largest consumer of paralegal services many
legal departments of corporations and government entities also utilize paralegals. For
example, estate and trust departments of large banks, health care entities, insurance
companies and real estate related organizations are continually finding that employing
paralegals is an effective way to perform legal services.
  • Private Law Firms
  • Law Departments of corporations
  • Banks
  • Insurance Companies
  • Government Agencies
  • Legal Services/Legal Aid Offices
  • Special Interest Groups/Associations
  • Criminal Law Offices
  • Freelance or Independent Paralegals
  • Service Companies
  • Consulting Firms

Duties

The duties of paralegals are as wide and diverse as are their employers.
Paralegals may be generalists meaning that their practice is broad and varied or the
paralegal may be a specialist meaning that their work is very focused and tailored to a
particular area of law. Paralegal education is designed to train the paralegal to succeed as
both a generalist or a specialist. The setting that the paralegal is employed in determines
the tasks that the paralegal will perform. Responsibilities most often include drafting
client correspondence, maintaining client files, legal and factual research, monitoring
deadlines with the court and drafting legal documents.
The most common area of practice for paralegals is litigation which would
include drafting pleadings and other court related documents and also includes factual
and legal investigation. Another large and growing area for paralegals includes
transactional practice which most commonly entails corporate and real estate
transactions. Paralegals employed in a transactional setting often perform due diligence
as well as filing legal documents with the secretary of state or other appropriate
governmental entity. Estate and probate paralegals often deal with client’s wills and
trusts and make sure that various procedures are adhered to. There are numerous other
subsets within the broad realms of litigation and transactional practices. Paralegals often
find their niche and continue to enhance their knowledge base in a particular setting
which leads them into specializing in a particular area of law.

Responsibilities

  • Locate and interview witnesses
  • Conduct client interviews
  • Conduct legal research
  • Draft legal documents, correspondence and pleadings
  • Maintain general contact with the client
  • Conduct investigations
  • Conducts statistical and documentary research
  • Summarize depositions, interrogatories and testimony
  • Attend executions of wills
  • Participate in real estate closings
  • Attend Depositions
  • Attend court or administrative hearings with the attorney

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment Projections the
Paralegal Profession is projected to grow disproportionately compared with other
occupations and has an above average growth rate.

Related Websites

http://www.abanet.org/
http://www.aafpe.org/
http://www.nala.org/
http://www.nationalparalegal.org/
http://www.paralegals.org/
http://www.ali-aba.org/

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