The Paralegal: A Specialist by Any Name
In the universe of legal proceedings, the question of, “Can a Paralegal specialize in Civil Rights Law?” is considered, under legal terminology, a deceptive query. The implication within the question paints the paralegal in a one-dimensional frame, devoid of purpose, resolution or interests beyond serving an attorney’s research agent and errand runner. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Related resource: Top 10 Best Value Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Paralegal Studies
The Purpose of the Paralegal
The primary purpose of a paralegal is to assist an attorney in pursuing a case. The paralegal is not allowed to advise a client, nor is a paralegal permitted to represent a client in a court of law. The paralegal is instrumental in finding the facts of a case. They may be required to do some field work as well as document research. They often schedule interviews with witnesses, investigate the integrity of the evidence, and are the principal agents of the outside discovery process. Inside the office, paralegals are responsible for the organization and maintenance of documents and arrange evidentiary documents and exhibits for the attorney in charge. They write reports for trial preparation and handle legal documents like contracts and mortgages. During a trial, a paralegal assists the attorney of record by taking notes, processing evidence, and reviewing trial transcripts. The paralegal will also file evidence with the court or opposing counsel as well as briefs, appeals, and other legal documents.
The Specialized Paralegal
According to Truity, large legal firms generally ask paralegals to specialize in one area of a case, bringing a focused expert in every phase of the action. For instance, litigation paralegals may specialize in reviewing legal documents for internal use, or they may collect and organize evidence for trial use, or any of a hundred other duties that a paralegal may specialize in when involved with a case.
Types of Paralegals
There are many types of paralegals of which the aforementioned litigation paralegal is just one. Paralegals can specialize in any area of the law. Some specialize in criminal court procedures, others work with torts and suits, while some work in community affairs, public housing, and labor law. A few specialize in Constitutional Law which involves Civil Rights. As a paralegal matures with experience in whatever section of the code they choose as a specialty, their value grows for the firm. A mature Constitutional Law paralegal will know every aspect of the constitution and the areas where interpretation is unclear. The best paralegals in any area of the law recognize the prosecutors, lawyers, and judges that will hear the case and how they act in court. In Constitutional Law, four interpretations identify the views of those officials involved in the case: Balancers, Structuralists, Constructionists, and Originalists. A valued paralegal that specializes in Constitutional Law will know the judgments, decisions, actions, and leanings of every judge that will hear such cases within the jurisdiction of the firm.
The Value of a Seasoned Paralegal Specialist?
The value of a mature paralegal in Constitutional Law to any firm is immeasurable. A paralegal that knows the courts, the rulings and the leanings of the opposing attorney save valuable time in the pursuance of any case. Their expertise is sought after with any situation involving Civil Rights. So, it is not a question of if a paralegal can specialize in Civil Rights Law. The problem is, what will it take for a firm to retain their paralegal specialist in Civil Rights Law while other firms are looking to hire them for themselves?