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Paralegal Duties

Kundan Pandey
Paralegal duties consist of various responsibilities that are assigned to them by senior lawyers. With a with tremendous opportunity for growth, a job as a paralegal is seen as the first step towards getting some good hands-on experience in law.
The field of law is complex and constantly evolving. With the growing social, political, and economical fabric of the society, the challenge to maintain effective law and order has risen drastically. And so has the workload and stress on lawyers.
Catering to the diverse cases in innumerable fields, a lawyers' profession is a race against time! This race has necessitated the need of legal assistants, also called paralegals. Just like medical assistants assist doctors, legal assistants help lawyers in successfully completing their tasks.

Duties of a Paralegal

There are innumerable tasks that are expected from paralegals, right from researching a case, to filing of case forms in the courts. A paralegal is directed by senior lawyers to do thorough research for some case and then update the lawyer about the relevant points of the case.
One of the duties is to check the legal documents, and validate them for submission in the court. These duties are not just limited to office work, they are also responsible for scheduling meetings, appointments, and locating witnesses for the lawyers. It won't be an exaggeration if it is said that a paralegal forms an important part of a lawyer's success.
A good paralegal can help his lawyer by executing his responsibilities in an excellent manner. His duties also include managing corporate clients, and acting as a source of communication between the lawyer and clients.
Since the lawyers can't always be available for meetings, paralegals are expected to manage and take necessary information from the clients.
There are various specializations of paralegals, and as per the industry they can have varied job descriptions. For example, paralegals working with attorneys in cases of medicines are called nurse paralegals, and they help in cases related to pharmacy!
The duties of bankruptcy paralegals are linked to bankruptcy laws. Bankruptcy paralegals are in great demand during a harsh economy wherein the bankruptcy lawsuits filed are in large numbers.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirement for becoming a paralegal is a bachelor's degree in paralegal studies, or, in some cases, a master's level course. The American Bar Association (ABA) approves the certificates and degree courses in paralegal studies.
Besides this, it is mandatory for the candidate to pass the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam conducted by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Effective communication skills are of prime importance, as paralegals have to deal with different types of people.

Salary Range

Working as assistants to lawyers is an enriching experience for any learner, so you must take maximum advantage of the opportunity to learn the skills. The lowest 10% of legal assistants earn around USD 31,000. The highest salary is more than USD 81,000 (approx) and is enjoyed by paralegals working in fields related to intellectual rights and property taxes.
This is a growing field with competition to be recruited as legal assistants of established lawyers. This field presents great career opportunities and anybody interested in law can pursue it for good experience. The duties of a paralegal demand an imposing personality with very good interpersonal skills. Prepare yourself likewise to enter into this field.