What is a Paralegal?
The American Bar Association (ABA) defines a paralegal as:
A person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible
On a day to day basis, a paralegal juggles a handful of responsibilities. We like to say that the paralegal “wears many hats”. Although no day is completely alike, here are a few things a paralegal might run into every day!
Wearing Multiple Hats
People will often ask what a paralegal’s normal workday looks like? Often times, no paralegal’s one day can match the next. The range of their role varies daily between assisting attorneys during trials, organizing case files, preparing trial notes, performing legal research, preparing legal briefs and sometimes conducting client and witness interviews. That being said, if you are a paralegal and feeling like your tank is drained, you’ve got this, we believe in you!
Tasks, Meetings and Unexpected Deadlines
You arrive at work, check emails and prioritize which tasks need to be completed before lunch. This is fairly common in any job role, although it is challenging for a paralegal specifically regarding the pressing time matter of a case and the severity of a deadline. By planning around meetings and daily tasks, you’re ready for the 2nd half of the day which is parallel to your morning; with an open window in the case of priorities changing based on new deadlines due before 5:00 o’clock.
A paralegal is often asked to help with administrative tasks such as filing papers, answering phone calls, and managing client files. Furthermore, paralegals help manage the schedule of an attorney, including ensuring they are aware of upcoming client meetings and pending court deadlines. Paralegals also routinely handle any needed travel arrangements for the attorney.
It is no understatement that a paralegal’s job duties stretch far and wide, but man are they good at what they do! That’s how you know that their hard work and dedication is appreciated by people all across the firms and the courts. Now go do your paralegals a favor and treat them to a cup of coffee. Trust me, they need it!