What Is A Typical Day Like For A Paralegal?
Paralegals assist lawyers as they fulfill their daily responsibilities. Like attorneys, a job as a paralegal can be stressful and demanding. It is also exciting and fulfilling, especially for those who are dedicated towards helping clients navigate the lengthy and confusing legal process.
In a typical workday, a paralegal can expect to perform many different tasks depending on what their field of specialization is. It is common for them to meet clients, do research, write legal forms and assist lawyers in preparing for a case.
Litigation paralegals, family paralegals and bankruptcy paralegals can expect to confer with clients in a typical workday. Litigation paralegals, for example, may be asked by lawyers to interview clients and potential witnesses who will help bolster their case. Family paralegals may also be asked to talk with husbands or wives to find out they are filing for divorce or determine why they should be allowed custody and not their spouse. Bankruptcy paralegals, on the other hand, talk with clients who want to seek relief from their financial troubles through a bankruptcy, educating them on what happens during the process and what they can expect to experience after the petition has been filed in court.
Writing and reviewing legal forms and documents is also another task that paralegals can expect to perform in the course of their day. Whatever their specialization is, paralegals draft complaints, petitions and appeals. They may also be asked to closely review documents to determine if these are completely filled. Immigration paralegals, for example, must see to it that the legal forms of those applying to migrate to the United States are accurate and complete. The same holds true for bankruptcy paralegals. Corporate paralegals may be asked to draft contracts while real estate paralegals may prepare mortgages and leases. No matter what kind of legal document they are asked to make, paralegals must always put a premium on accuracy.
Doing research is part and parcel of the work of paralegals. They will look at various laws and regulations that support their cause or determine what really happened when a murder took place, for example. Litigation paralegals and corporate paralegals perform a lot of research but the work of an intellectual property paralegal is one of the most research-heavy jobs as they delve deep into matters related to patents and copyright laws.
Paralegals may expect to go to court on some days to help lawyers file briefs, appeals and other documents. During hearings, they help their attorneys by handling the exhibits and taking down notes.
Paralegals, no matter what their specialization is, are tasked with organizing files and records in the office. Lawyers who handle a lot of cases rely on their paralegals to keep their documents and files about each case in order. Paralegals need to follow a systematic filing system for all their physical and electronic files. Electronic database management has become increasingly used by law firms to keep track of all their records so paralegals need to be very familiar with this technology. This will spare them the burden of retrieving physical documents which can also delay their work.