If you’re thinking of becoming a paralegal, you may be curious about paralegal skills and what kinds of characteristics lend themselves to the profession. Let’s take a look at some skills that will help you to excel as a paralegal.
Paralegals must be proficient researchers. Traditional law library research methods, along with internet investigations and an understanding of legal research databases are all part of the job. Analysis of case facts and proper citations are also necessary. The ability to utilize strong investigative skills in order to obtain evidence, peruse medical records, interview witnesses and scrutinize document is crucial, as well.
The ability to write in a clear and concise manner is also an important skill for paralegals to possess and goes hand in hand with research abilities. Various kinds of correspondence, including contracts, resolutions, memorandums, briefs, motions and agreements will need to be created. Strong written communication skills will put you ahead of the pack and ensure you are a highly valued paralegal.
The ability to communicate orally is also one of the more important paralegal skills you can master. Communicating with others takes up a huge part of a paralegal’s day. You’ll need to interview witnesses, speak with experts, get in touch with new clients and obtain information from attorneys. Demonstrating that you are well-spoken is a professional trait that looks good for your employer and makes you a significant asset to the legal team.
As you can see, a paralegal has a number of duties to take care of throughout the day. That’s why organization is such an important skill to have in this job. Lawyers will be counting on you to keep all of the various documents, files and statements in order so that they can be retrieved when needed for court. Not only must you organize the physical paperwork involved with legal proceedings, but your digital files must be kept in order, as well. Closely related to organization is the ability to multi-task. Many of the duties mentioned thus far often need to be completeed in short amounts of time. Keeping ahead of the game by multi-tasking avoids confusion and missing important deadlines. Extreme attention to detail should be mentioned here also. If numbers are transposed or information is recorded incorrectly, it could have a significant negative impact on a client’s case. Thus, it’s imperative for you to be skilled in adhering to even the smallest details.
Finally, it needs to be noted that teamwork is a big component of a paralegal’s position. They don’t call it a legal team for nothing, and you’re a key player on that team. You may have to work in conjunction with other paralegals, legal associates, law partners and other key personnel, in addition to professional outside the law firm like opposing counsel, experts, witnesses and clients. Being a paralegal is definitely not a solitary job.
If you think you possess these skills and would thrive in the fast-paced world of a law firm, then becoming a paralegal may be just the profession for you and you should consider pursuing a paralegal program. Possessing paralegal skills such as these will ensure that you are well-respected in your profession and are a sought-after candidate for the jobs you seek.