Paralegals are legal assistants who spend most of their time helping to manage the massive paperwork generated by legal proceedings. Paralegals file, sort, index, photocopy, and draft legal documents. They may also hold hearings and interview witnesses. Most entry-level paralegals should have a bachelor?s degree, and additional certification may increase employment opportunities. The duties of a paralegal depend on the firm for which the paralegal works and the educational training and experience of the paralegal.
Many of the paralegal?s services are performed directly for the benefit of a lawyer, businessperson, or government employee. These services assist the employer with his or her duties. A paralegal may also work directly with the lawyer?s clients, drafting necessary contracts and paperwork. Some paralegals, however, provide legal services for people who cannot afford full legal services. Typical paralegal services include preparing all types of court documents, planning finances, including estates with will and trust plans, and corporate services.
Paralegals prepare a number of court documents, such as motions, briefs, and depositions. Motions petition the trial judge for particular rulings favorable to the lawyer?s team. Briefs are reports that describe and support the motion. Depositions consist of interviews of witnesses before the trial begins. All these documents must be indexed and organized, and often must be entered into a computer, by the paralegal.
With proper training, paralegals may draft wills and trusts, separation agreements, and mortgages. Paralegal services may extend into real estate by helping prepare tax returns and planning estates.
Paralegals with more business training working in a corporate environment may help handle bankruptcies filings, shareholder agreements, stock option plans, benefit plans, or tax returns. Some may keep finance records for the law firm. Others may help oversee business contracts.
Since paralegal services often involve paperwork, it is critical that a paralegal also be experienced in organizing and sorting information, as well as conducting research and interviews. Additional training in all these skills is available at colleges, universities, and online training programs.
About the author:
Paralegals Info provides detailed information about paralegal jobs, schools, training, courses, certificates, and services. Paralegals Info is the sister site of Notary Public Web.
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