The role of a paralegal requires a person to wear many hats. At any given moment, a paralegal may act as a secretary and then go straight into wearing the hat of a researcher or data collector. The paralegal plays a vital role in the success of the law firm he or she works for. The work performed by paralegals is delegated to them by a lawyer. Some of the most common tasks handled by paralegals include filing paperwork, preparing contracts, conducting legal research, making sure all files are organized, and drafting documents. For those wanting to become paralegals, it’s comforting to know that this position is found in just about any type of organization.
Here’s a closer look at the role of a paralegal and how to become one.
How Big of a Role Does a Paralegal Play in the Court System?
Even a simple case handled by a lawyer can be time-consuming. When the lawyer has more than one case, things start to get very hectic in and out of the office. With a paralegal in the corner, lawyers can rest easy knowing that someone is making sure all case-related tasks are being handled. The paralegal will sometimes help an attorney during a trial, keep case-related data in a computer database, research laws and legal articles, write reports for trials, investigate facts of a case, and so much more.
The research and findings that a paralegal makes will often have a large influence on the outcome of a court case. Think about it. The lawyer doesn’t perform any research on a case because he’s too busy appearing in court. Back at the office, the paralegal is making phone calls to investigate cases and performing research to ensure the case achieves the most favorable outcome. Because of this, paralegals play a crucial role in the court system.
What Does a Corporate Paralegal Do?
Some paralegals choose to work as corporate paralegals. In this role, a paralegal has a vast amount of knowledge relating to law and how it applies to business. The paralegal will help with matters relating to:
- Dissolving a company
- Forming a company
- Laws research
- Maintaining a company
- Making timely filings
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Writing drafts, contracts, and documents
Corporate paralegals often appear in court during corporate litigation procedures. They also attend corporate meetings. During these meetings, they usually prepare resolutions to the issues at hand and log board minutes. The corporate paralegal may be the entity that knows a company better than anyone else. A paralegal can see all aspects of a company from every angle. Because of this, the paralegal is often a go-to source for information when a firm needs to make a decision.
How to Become a Corporate Paralegal?
Superb writing and communication skills are necessary to become a corporate paralegal. Also important is to exhibit a superior sense of professionalism and to have the ability to thrive in a fast-paced setting. Additionally, computer skills are necessary because paralegals spend a lot of time conducting online research. Duties and responsibilities start to increase once a corporate paralegal moves into a senior corporate paralegal position. Those in this type of position often have the extensive foreign business knowledge and help in international corporations.
There is no set standard for becoming a corporate paralegal. However, when it comes to securing employment, a person will greatly benefit from getting a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.