What Are The Different Types Of Paralegals?

If there are lawyers who specialize in family law, immigration law and criminal law, paralegals are also given the opportunity to focus on a particular legal field. They do this for various reasons. Some paralegals may be compelled, in a manner of speaking, upon the prodding of the law firm they work for. Others specialize because they find the field interesting while still others do so because a particular legal field holds the promise of more lucrative earnings.

There are ten kinds of paralegals: 1) Intellectual property paralegals, 2) Family law paralegals, 3) Estate planning and probate paralegals, 4) Corporate paralegals, 5) Real estate paralegals, 6) Labor and employment paralegals, 7) Bankruptcy paralegals, 8) Litigation paralegals, 9) Immigration paralegals and 10) Consumer paralegals.

Intellectual property paralegals rank as one of the highest paid paralegals. Their role is to do research on and assist in the preparation of trademark and patent applications as well as help lawyers in litigations involving intellectual property—a common lawsuit among electronics and computer firms. Since most of their time is spent in research, their client interaction is very limited.

Family law paralegals assist lawyers handling cases involving family matters like divorce and child custody. Unlike intellectual property paralegals, these paralegals have a lot of client interaction, often with those who are emotionally and psychologically distressed about their situation. Paralegals take care of drafting correspondences and pleadings as well as coordinating court hearings.

Wills, trusts and Powers of Attorney are the common documents that estate planning and probate paralegals deal with in their work. They may work together with individuals, especially with those who are already in their twilight years or those who are sick, in preparing their estate so that their wealth will go to their intended beneficiaries. Aside from working with those who are planning their estate, a paralegal who works in estate planning and probate also helps relatives and individuals who are trying to claim their inheritances.

The task of corporate paralegals centers on preparing and evaluating contracts to ensure that they comply with federal, state and local laws. Employed by corporations, they may also assist lawyers who are preparing cases against other companies or other organizations.

Paralegals who work with real estate properties like land, buildings and residential areas are known as real estate paralegals. They perform title searches, prepare Deeds, scrutinize leases and contracts about the sale of land and properties and review closing documents, among others. They are usually hired by title and real estate firms, government agencies and law offices.

Paralegals who are concerned about issues that affect the workplace are called labor and employment paralegals. Their responsibilities include writing and filing complaints that have to do with matters involving employers and employees. They may deal with issues about workplace discrimination and safety or disputes between union and management. These types of paralegals must be knowledgeable about how government offices handle labor complaints.

Bankruptcy paralegals help clients who are contemplating bankruptcy as a way to solve their financial problems. They talk with clients who are stressed due to money issues, especially debt, educating them about the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy and the procedures that must be followed. They prepare petitions, file supporting documents and help the client go through the bankruptcy process.

Litigation paralegals love the challenge in the courtroom. Whenever their clients get sued, they take care of the entire process—from research to filing documents in court to interviewing witnesses to gathering evidence to the day of the trial itself—litigation paralegals are there every step of the way. Preparing for trial is no easy task so litigation isn’t for the faint-of-heart.

Individuals who want to migrate to the United States go to immigration lawyers for help. These lawyers are assisted by immigration paralegals who work to clarify to clients the lengthy immigration application process. They help clients by reviewing their petitions and applications and aid them in getting their non-immigrant visas.

Consumer paralegals, meanwhile, are unique among paralegals in that they don’t work under the direction of a licensed lawyer. Rather, they offer their services straight to the public, helping those individuals who may have complaints against businesses and companies. They draft letters and file complaints with consumer protection agencies.

Career Spotlight: Paralegal

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