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Responsibilities of a Legal Executive

Rohini Mohan
A legal executive in the US is commonly referred to as a paralegal. Their main function is to assist lawyers in their work. However, they are not allowed to present cases in the court of law, nor are they allowed to charge a fee. They are meant for doing jobs which are delegated to them by lawyers, who have too much on their plate and need assistance.
What is different about these legal agents, is that they do not have the license to practice, nor are they required to clear the state Bar examination. They are employed where ever there are legal departments such as law firms, government departments and corporate sectors.
To explain it in simpler words, these professionals are responsible for keeping the legal system going, while they work from behind-the-scene.

Job Description

  • Legal executives are supposed to draft the pleadings for a case, set the legal arguments in favor of the attorney's clients and draft the motion which needs to be filed in the court.
  • They are sent for obtaining the affidavits and summons forms.
  • They have to find out the suitable laws, cases, judgments, articles and report recent amendments in the applicable laws dealing with the present case. To provide all the necessary information which may be needed by the attorney, so as to make their job quicker.
After which, all of this information is summed up into reports and send to the attorney for his perusal and opinion.
  • These executives work in all fields of law, and are heavily involved in corporate law, civil and criminal laws, IPR, labor and employee laws, family, child custody, divorce law and many others.
  • They also work in specialized areas where their assistance may be needed. For instance fields relating to taxation laws, mortgages, creating trust funds or liquidating them, they formulate the stipulations of contractual agreements and the dissolution of companies.
  • While working with a corporate, they are responsible for assisting the attorneys with contracts relating to employees, stocks and assets, shareholders agreements and loans due or payable to the corporate. They also need to file the annual reports on the financial schemes as well as forms for loan requests for the corporate.
  • They provide free legal services for community benefit by making the new amendments and laws easier to understand. They make forms which state the rights and liabilities which can be faced by an individual pertaining to each act either committed by the individual or inflicted upon the individual.
  • They are required to research and file their findings on existing laws as well as newer ones. They have to find loopholes, and try too shift the case in favor as well as against a situation. These strategies come in handy depending on which side of the case, the attorney's wish to defend.

Qualification Required

  • Anyone can become a legal executive if they have completed a bachelor's degree. This is the minimum requirement in order to apply for the certificate for paralegal studies. The requirements to become a lawyer are not similar to this profession, even though the certification is approved by the American Bar Association.
  • The best way to go about it is to join a community college or school, for a course in paralegal studies.
  • After community college, the next step requires applying for associates degree in paralegal education.
  • The third option is to apply for the 5 year certification course under the National Association of Legal Assistants program. After five years a 2 day examination is conducted. Those who pass this exam will be given certification as CLA or Certified Legal Assistants.
The job opportunities for these professionals is set to increase drastically in the next few years. The average annual income presently for them is set between $60,000 - $90,000. However, the salary fluctuates depending on the qualification, talent and work experience of the job applicant.