Archive for Paralegal Profession

Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs on Tips About Paralegals

Paralegals, or legal assistants, perform many duties and work in varying environments. Lawyers often delegate responsibilities such as researching laws regarding current cases and analyzing data to paralegals. While they are usually prohibited from performing duties pertaining to the actual practice of law, most law offices could not function efficiently without the aid of paralegals. While paralegals work independently most days, the paralegal profession is a people-oriented profession. Paralegals may work in teams with one or more lawyers, paralegals, and legal secretaries as well as communicate with clients, witnesses, and court personnel. In preparation for hearings and trials, paralegals may look into facts and procedures to ensure relevance and accuracy. They may use this information to give advice to lawyers as to the proper operations necessary in a case says Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Paralegals, also, must possess proficient writing and communication skills as most of their time is spent drafting documents and reports to be used in court. They are also largely responsible for litigation in the courtroom, though are not allowed to give legal advice. Paralegals will organize and document information regarding past and present cases to be recalled in future cases.

Additional Duties

Although lawyers assume ultimate responsibility for legal work, they often delegate many of their tasks to paralegals. In fact, paralegals—also called legal assistants—are continuing to assume new responsibilities in legal offices and perform many of the same tasks as lawyers. Nevertheless, they are explicitly prohibited from carrying out duties considered to be within the scope of practice of law, such as setting legal fees, giving legal advice, and presenting cases in court explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Besides aiding on case work, paralegals also perform duties such as drafting legal documents in the form of contracts, mortgages, and separation agreements. You may find many paralegals working in other organizations or government offices where their responsibilities can range from intellectual property rights, bankruptcy, immigration services, and employee benefits. Paralegals working in these environments often have specialized functions in order to work quickly and efficiently. On average, paralegals employed by corporations and government offices work standard hours, Those who work in law firms can at times work long, late hours to meet deadlines.

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Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs on Tips About Paralegals

Educational Requirements

For paralegals, the educational demand is that most need to have at least an associates or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies; however, some employers will train paralegals on the job. For most paralegal jobs, applicants should have a college level reading and writing ability. Taking a few college English courses can help someone thinking about a paralegal career get a head start. Many colleges offer at least a certificate program or a 2 year paralegal program, including most community colleges states Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. To gain an advantage in the job market possible candidates should look into one of the 260 paralegal programs in the country that are approved by the ABA (American Bar Association). One may also start out as a legal secretary and, by gaining experience, acquire a promotion. Associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs usually combine paralegal training with courses in other academic subjects. Certificate programs vary significantly, with some taking only a few months to complete. Most certificate programs provide intensive paralegal training for individuals who already hold college degrees.

 

More than 1,000 colleges and universities, law schools, and proprietary schools offer formal paralegal training programs. Approximately 260 paralegal programs are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Although not required by many employers, graduation from an ABA-approved program can enhance employment opportunities. Admission requirements vary. Some schools require certain college courses or a bachelor’s degree, while others accept high school graduates or those with legal experience. A few schools require standardized tests and personal interviews.

Job Prospects

Employment outlook is expected to grow into the year 2020 but as more people take advantage of this opportunity, so is the rate of competition expected to expand. Paralegals can make anywhere from 40 to 60 thousand dollars annually, and many take advantage of benefits including paid vacation, health insurance and bonuses to compensate them for their hard work on difficult cases. Paralegals landing the best jobs can even see reimbursement for their education. There are other similar careers available for those considering a certificate as a paralegal, including claims adjusters, law clerks, occupational health and safety specialists, technicians, and title examiners. Most of these occupations require less education and training, and some can carry an equal or greater salary than that of a paralegal explains Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs. Demand for paralegals also is expected to grow as an expanding population increasingly requires legal services, especially in areas such as intellectual property, healthcare, international law, elder issues, criminal law, and environmental law. The growth of prepaid legal plans also should contribute to the demand for legal services. Private law firms will continue to be the largest employers of paralegals, but a growing array of other organizations, such as corporate legal departments, insurance companies, real-estate and title insurance firms, and banks also hire paralegals. Corporations in particular are expected to increase their in-house legal departments to cut costs. The wide range of tasks paralegals can perform has helped to increase their employment in small and medium-size establishments of all types. Paralegals and legal assistants held about 263,800 jobs in 2008. Private law firms employed 71 percent; most of the remainder worked for corporate legal departments and various levels of government. A small number of paralegals own their own businesses and work as freelance legal assistants, contracting their services to attorneys or corporate legal departments.

Family Law Lawyer Colorado Springs on Tips About Paralegals