Paralegals help lawyers prepare for trials, do client interviews, assist in hearings and closings, perform legal research, prepare legal arguments, draft pleadings and motions, obtain affidavits and assist during trials.California Definition:
Paralegal is a person who either contracts with or is employed by an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity and who performs substantial legal work under the direction and supervision of an active members of the State Bar of California, as defined in Section 6060, or an attorney practicing law in the federal courts of this state, that has been specifically delegated by the attorney to him or her. Tasks performed by a paralegal include, but are not limited to, case planning, development and management; legal research; interviewing clients; fact gathering and retrieving information; drafting and analyzing legal documents; collecting, compiling, and utilizing technical information to make an independent decision and recommendation to the supervising attorney; and representing clients before a state or federal administrative agency if that representation is permitted by statute, court rule, or administrative rule or regulation.
Find descriptions from other states at www.paralegals.org.
2 year associates degree in paralegal studies or
4 year bachelor's degree plus paralegal certification
Good research abilities, investigative and organizational skills, understanding of legal terminology, knowledge of legal software applications.Certification:
National Federation of Paralegal Associations: www.paralegals.org/.
70% of paralegals work for private law firms, a small percentage free lance and the rest work for the government.
Starting salaries are $25,000 to $79,000 per year based on education, training, and experience. The average in 2004 was $39,000.
Other salary factors include location and size of the office. The US federal government starts at $59,370 per year.Resources:
US Department of Labor: www.bls.gov/oco/ocos114.
Paralegal Education: www.aafpe.org/
Paralegal Organization: www.paralegals.org/
ABA Directory of Accredited Schools: www.
abanet.org/legalservices/paralegals/directory/.Find out how you can enter this exciting field at www.
internetuniversitydegrees.com/online-paralegal-degree.shtml..Pat Schraier is a web site designer and owner of Way Out West Products. Paralegal Resources at Internet University Degrees.
By: Pat Schraier