Legal Assistant and Paralegal Job Description

Good paralegals can actually do what attorneys or solicitors can do. It’s only that by law they are not allowed to give legal advice, represent clients in court or set legal fees. If you simply look at a paralegal job description, you will know that they are in hot demand because most lawyers just don’t have the time to do all the things required of them.

In the old days, paralegals were considered glorified secretaries, but nowadays many people considered them to be unofficial full-fledged lawyers.

If you abhor doing research, then forget about being a paralegal. This is because a paralegal job description comprised conducting a lot of research, help lawyers prepare for trails, hearings and closing arguments.

Some people are confused by the terms paralegal and legal assistants. Are they the same? Well, it depends on where you come from. But in general, both positions mean the same thing – they help lawyers prepare for trial and do research.

In places where these two positions have different definitions, they also have different salary scales. Training programs for both of them, in such cases, are also different because they have a different set of responsibilities.

Take note that in places where paralegals and legal assistants have different meanings, you will see that the former is more involved in casework, drafting legal documents and legal research. The work of legal assistants is more administrative in nature. Another major point is that when law firms want to hire paralegals, they would keep on good eye on the applicant’s background to see whether they have any experience in dealing with law-related matters or a background in political science. If they are looking for legal assistants, they will see whether the applicant has a secretarial or clerical backgrounds.

There are many study programs for both paralegals and legal assistants to bring their knowledge and expertise up several notches. For instance, legal assistants could pursue the Certified Legal Assistant programs offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). There is a wide variety of programs for paralegals, ranging from certificate courses to master degree programs.

Whatever it is, if you want to pursue this career, it is best you take a good look at the paralegal job description drawn up by the firm you are interested to work for. This is important because being a paralegal of legal assistant is often a high-pressure undertaking. If you are the type who thrives in stressful situation, then being a paralegal is a good profession to get into as this industry has been growing at an annual pace of 22 per cent for the last five years and is expected to continue that way till 2020.