Assistance from a paralegal is invaluable for busy attorneys. The training that paralegals receive qualifies them to help in many areas of a legal practice. Whether you’re looking into a paralegal study program or have already taken steps to start a career in the field, there are many ways that attorneys can utilize your services.
Delegate Office Tasks
A paralegal can handle all of the basic office and administrative tasks required to keep a law firm running smoothly. This may include reviewing and organizing client files, drafting legal documents or conducting interviews with clients and witnesses. Having a paralegal perform these duties frees attorneys up to work on the more complex aspects of their current cases. A well-organized office and filing system is essential to success, especially for firms that juggle a large caseload or deal with high-profile clients. The services of a paralegal ensures that all documents can be found in a timely manner and that client information is easily accessible.
Get Assistance with Research
Every legal case requires a supporting foundation based in both federal and local laws. Sifting through all of the information to find relevant facts can be an enormous task that would hold up legal proceedings if attorneys had to do it themselves. With help from a paralegal, the process goes much faster. Paralegals can not only consolidate information from legal resources within the practice but also gain access to outside sources that attorneys don’t have time to track down. All of this results in a strong framework that increases the chances of success with each case.
Speed Up the Discovery Process
In law, discovery is the process in which one party legally obtains information about the other party’s side of the issue. Evidence needs collecting, documents need to be reviewed and depositions need to be taken. Written questions, called “interrogatories,” may also need to be delivered. This information rounds out the basic legal aspects of the case, allowing the attorney to build his or her side more effectively. With a paralegal on hand to help with discovery, sort through files and draft documents, it takes much less time to prepare for each case.
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Offer a Better Client Experience
An overloaded law practice can start slipping when it comes to client service. Attorneys become so bogged down with the detail work for their cases that they can’t give clients the one-on-one time that they deserve. Hiring a paralegal to help manage the daily load frees attorneys up to meet with clients, and it offers an alternative should the attorney be unavailable. While paralegals can’t practice law or offer legal advice, they can answer some questions and deal with certain client needs. This means that there’s always someone around to speak with clients even during busy times.
Improve Practice Profitability
With a paralegal handling the administrative basics of the practice, attorneys are able to take on larger numbers of cases. Plus, since paralegal fees are less than attorney fees and can be billed separately to clients, it’s possible to do the same amount of work and make the same amount of money without charging as much. Word spreads as a practice becomes known for being reliable, affordable and successful. Along with the increased communication with clients that paralegals can offer, this opens the door to an expanded client base.
With all of these potential work opportunities, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a position as a paralegal. Working with a lawyer provides ongoing real-world training to improve your skills, increase your knowledge of law and support professional growth.
Source: American Bar Association