In order to work well with lawyers, it’s important that a paralegal understands how to demonstrate his or her capabilities and willingness to take on new challenges. Above all, communication is important in expressing one’s capability and willingness to confront the task at hand, no matter how seemingly overwhelming.
To some extent, important aspects of managing a paralegal-lawyer relationship are similar to key aspects of an employee-boss relationship. However, there are some characteristics that are particular to the operation of a law office. Most importantly, both paralegals and lawyers need to separate their own personal interests from professional issues to make the law office function optimally.
A Paralegal will offer support to the lawyer’s work
Because of the relative novelty of the paralegal profession, some older lawyers may be unaccustomed to working with those in the paralegal profession. It’s important to understand that lawyers tend to have a very analytical way of thinking. However, paralegals are trained to operate in more of a supportive roll that stresses following direction as much as analyzing and interpreting legal issues. Yet a good paralegal will develop instincts over time that will help him or her to instinctually understand the operations of a law office.
An important task of a fledgling paralegal is to learn to gain trust and respect from lawyers. Gaining trust is facilitated when paralegals learn to anticipate the needs of the lawyers for whom they work. If a paralegal does not understand a certain concept or assignment, it’s important that he or she knows how to speak up and address any confusion so that the assignment can be carried out properly.
It’s all in the details
A paralegal is responsible for developing cases and handling the logistics of preparing a court case. This might involve acquiring certain forms like affidavits. General duties around the office might include simple office tasks like typing, filing, and organizing documents. A paralegal will have the most success when he or she learns to be persistent and thorough in carrying out job tasks.
Over time, lawyers come to rely on paralegals more and more and to entrust them with increasingly more involved and complicated tasks. In general, a lawyer is expected to handle the creative aspects of resolving a court case while the paralegal takes direction and handles details. Lawyers know how to take in all of the events related to a case and form that information into a viable scheme for winning the case. However, a lawyer will come to increasingly rely on an experienced paralegal for input on particular cases.
For a lawyer, taking on a case often involves a great deal of stress and time. Paralegals need to understand all of the effort and details that go into a case. They also need to be able to multitask and handle diverse needs at once. No aspiring legal professional should underestimate the importance of the paralegal-lawyer relationship. The two will work closely together to take care of multiple legal cases.