What Is A Paralegal?



In today's world where terminology is frequently changing, the terms themselves and what is associated with them can often be confusing. In the legal field, an example of this is that while terms such as paralegal, legal assistant, and legal secretary, are all used on a regular basis, it can leave many people wondering what these roles consist of, as well as whether or not there is any significant difference between them. After you have some of the basic facts, you should not find it all to be so confusing.

A legal secretary is precisely what the term implies. Up until quite recently, this role was the one which most non-attorneys held in a law office. Legal secretaries, who were usually female, were not much different from secretaries of any other type, with the exception that a legal secretary often had specialized training in order to be more knowledgeable about matters specific to the legal field, resulting in being more effective and efficient at the job. While legal secretaries occasionally had a college degree, it was generally more up to the discretion of the employer rather than due to any professional requirements.

In contrast, when legal assistants became an everyday part of most law offices, the entirely different role necessitated more and different qualifications. In taking a much more active role in the law office, a legal assistant needed to be much more familiar with all aspects of the legal system in general. While working as a legal assistant was basically a matter of being a helper to an attorney, it was a job which consisted of a decidedly hands-on approach.

These days, the terms legal assistant and paralegal are often used interchangeably. Although many who work in this field tend to prefer the latter term, there is actually not a difference between the two. While the duties of a legal secretary consists primarily of a clerical nature, this is not the focus of a paralegal.

The majority of a paralegal's work consists of legal duties; although it is usually required that these duties are assigned and carried out under the direction of an attorney, it is generally a matter of the paralegal lightening the attorney's workload by taking on responsibilities and tasks for which she is qualified. For example, interviewing witnesses for a court case is one such duty. Instead of basic clerical work, a paralegal's duties often include such examples as researching statistics, case information, and other facts which are vital to the attorney's ongoing work.

In today's world, the role of paralegal is quite often filled by men. While there are still more women paralegals, many men have also found this field to be both professionally and personally rewarding. Although there were very few male legal secretaries in the past, the widening role and opportunities for paralegals have led many men to find this line of work to be quite appealing.

In short, a paralegal is a professional in the law office or other business where he or she works. The paralegal has a distinct role, and the qualifications necessary to be effective in that role.





By Anders Eriksson
You may contact me through my Help Desk


Comments

*Name:
*Email:
Website URL:
Title / Subject:
Hide my email
*Comments:
*
 



Menu


My Articles

Why You Might Like To Become A Paralegal
Paralegals And Standards
PARALEGAL STUDY THROUGH DISTANCE LEARNING
What Is A Paralegal?
Why The Paralegal Field Needs You!
Paralegal Training For Young People
Paralegals And Notary Public Services
CLE: Continuing Legal Education For Paralegals
Why Pro Bono Work Is Important For A Paralegal
Networking: An Excellent Tool For Paralegals
Paralegals And Conflict Of Interest
Paralegals And Document Preparation
How Can You Become A Paralegal?
How Working As A Paralegal Can Enrich Your Life
Where Can You Find Good Resources For Paralegals?
Paralegals And Unauthorized Practice Of Law
Would Becoming A Freelance Paralegal Be A Good Option For You?
Credentials For Paralegals
Considering Specialized Fields Of Law As A Paralegal
What Can You ExpectFrom Paralegal Training?
Paralegals And The Professional Code Of Ethics
How To Decide If You Really Want To Become A Paralegal
A Paralegal's Workday
Why The Paralegal Field Is An Excellent Choice For A Career Change





   Related Sites

My Articles


Considering Specialized Fields Of Law As A Paralegal One very important fact that you may not have thought of in your..


Paralegals And Conflict Of Interest Conflict of interest is a very serious subject for attorneys; it is a very..


Credentials For Paralegals As there are a number of different credentials for paralegals, you may..


Paralegals And The Professional Code Of Ethics Although many paralegals work under the supervision of an attorney,..



Related Products:

Related News:

 
No item elements found in rss feed.