What is the Role of a Paralegal in a Law Firm?11 July 2018
A career as a paralegal can offer you an exciting window into the world of law, criminal justice, and the judicial system. Pioneer Pacific College is one of only two colleges in the state of Oregon that offers a legal assistant/paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.
This career path can give you the chance to work in a fast-paced, well-respected career, working closely with lawyers, prosecutors, and public defenders. Most importantly, legal assistant/paralegal career opportunities are expected to increase by 15% over the next 8 years, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But what is a paralegal? And how can you prepare for this exciting career?
Definition of a Paralegal:
A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.
While a paralegal cannot give legal advice nor represent a client in court, the paralegal can play an instrumental role in providing quality legal services to all segments of our society.
The Value of Paralegals in a Law Firm
Paralegals play an essential role in keeping a law firm working. Attorneys rely on their paralegals to help them conduct research, draft documents, and even investigate cases. In many ways, a paralegal performs many of the same duties as a lawyer, although the primary focus of a paralegal is to save a lawyer time by performing many functions behind the scenes, the number and types of tasks they perform can vary greatly. The paralegal profession offers a perfect career for someone who is detail-oriented and enjoys working in a team.
What are Some of the Roles of a Paralegal?
A paralegal works under the supervision of an attorney. Typically, paralegal responsibilities mean working directly with clients to help prepare a case. A paralegal will often attend trials, depositions, and hearings with their legal team.
The specific duties of a paralegal will depend on the type of law office they work in. A paralegal working in criminal law may examine police records. Other law offices may be concerned with researching financial documents.
A paralegal’s responsibilities include:
- Investigating the facts of a case
- Researching relevant laws
- Organizing and presenting the information
- Creating reports to prepare lawyers for trials
- Drafting correspondence or other documents such as contracts and mortgages
- Acquiring affidavits and other formal statements
How to Start Your Paralegal Program
At Pioneer Pacific, our students study a wide range of legal subjects, learning through in-class scenarios from professionals with real-world legal experience. Our instructors offer practical insight into becoming a paralegal. Our program includes a 180-hour externship and in just 70 academic weeks, you can begin working in an exciting new career.
Here are just a few of the subjects you will study:
- Civil procedure and documentation
- Constitutional law
- Legal research and writing
Jump-start Your Future With Pioneer Pacific College
A career as a paralegal offers you the chance to work in a role where you will be highly valued as a professional. If you are ready to find out if a career as a paralegal is a good fit for you, we can help.