A paralegal is someone who performs delegated legal work and is ultimately responsible to another lawyer. They perform a variety of tasks which include maintaining and organising files, drafting documents and conducting legal research. Paralegals are found in all types of organisations, but most work for law firms, government agencies, or corporate legal departments and carry out the following tasks.
- Help lawyers during trials
- Conduct research on laws, legal articles and regulations
- Organise and present information
- Keep information related to cases in computer databases
- Help lawyers by writing reports to prepare for trials
- Investigate facts of a case
- Draft correspondence and documents, such as mortgages and contracts
- Get formal statements and affidavits that could be used as evidence in court
Paralegals assist in the preparation of trials, hearings, corporate meetings and depending on the size of the organisation or firm, a paralegal's duties could vary. In addition to reviewing and organising information, paralegals may prepare written reports that assist in determining how to handle a case.
If lawyers decide to pursue a defendant on behalf of their clients, the paralegals may help draft documents and prepare the legal arguments.
Paralegals can assume more responsibilities by specialising in different areas like many have in timeshare. Some of these areas could be litigation, corporate law, criminal law, personal injury, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, real estate and family law. In addition, experienced paralegals may assume supervisory responsibilities, such as delegating work to other paralegals or overseeing team projects.