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What is a Paralegal?

According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.:

a paralegal is a person, qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer. This person may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work. Substantive shall mean work requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts.

What do Paralegals do?

Essentially, with education and experience, paralegals are qualified to perform legal work that is customarily done by a lawyer, and for which a lawyer is ultimately accountable. Paralegals do, however, hold the responsibility of providing accurate, concise, ethical and timely work to their supervising lawyer and their clients. National surveys indicate the following duties are most common among the responsibilities of a paralegal:

  • Conduct Client Interviews

  • Perform Legal Research

  • Investigate Facts of a Case

  • Locate and Interview Witnesses

  • Participate in Court Appearances

  • Write and File Petitions

  • Manage Trial Dockets and Court Correspondence

  • Draft Correspondence and Pleadings

  • Attend and Summarize Depositions

  • Attend Execution of Wills, Real Estate Closings, Court or Administrative Hearings and Trials

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