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Career Information

Paralegals

A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity that performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. Paralegals assist in the efficient delivery of legal services, under the supervision of an attorney.

About 7 out of 10 work for law firms; others work for corporate legal departments and government agencies.

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Survey: One In Five Lawyers Plans To Hire Paralegals In Next 12 Months

An article by Robert Half Legal reports a positive job market outlook for skilled paralegals.

Sample Job Titles

  • Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Judicial Assistant
  • Probate Paralegal
  • Real Estate Paralegal

Typical Responsibilities

  • Interview clients and witnesses
  • Conduct investigations
  • Perform legal research
  • Draft correspondence and legal documents
  • Organize, review and coordinate documents for discovery
  • Assist at trials and hearings
  • Summarize depositions, testimony, and contracts
  • Attend will readings, real estate closings, or depositions with the attorney
  • Review and maintain corporate records

Career Options

Paralegals are important members of the legal team. Their understanding of the legal system and legal concepts combined with practical knowledge of legal forms and procedures make them valuable, cost-effective resources in providing legal services.

Paralegals are prohibited from practicing law, which means that they cannot give legal advice, represent a client in court, accept a case on behalf of a client or establish a fee.

The work that paralegals perform varies depending on the environment in which they work and the area of law in which they practice. Private law firms are the single largest employers of paralegals. Paralegals are employed in Lake County in many different areas of law, such as litigation, real estate, corporate, probate and estate planning, intellectual property, family law, labor law and bankruptcy.

Paralegals also work in other private sector organizations, such as corporate legal departments, insurance companies, trust departments of larger banks, hospitals and health care organizations and real estate and title insurance companies. Numerous opportunities are available in the public sector, such as community legal service programs, offices of public defenders, prosecutors and attorneys general, non-profit agencies, state and federal government agencies and the judicial system.

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