Paralegals have a diverse range of organizations to seek employment through. They can work in fields like government, education, or medical. If you have a passion for understanding how different laws impact people who share a domestic connection together, then the role of a family law paralegal will suit you well. Here’s a close look at what a family law paralegal does and how to become one.
What Does a Family Law Paralegal Do?
Being an expert in family law will help a person excel as a family law paralegal. Family law covers everything from division of property, child custody, termination of parental rights, grandparent’s rights, adoption, and so much more.
As a family law paralegal, you will receive instructions from a family law attorney. These instructions serve as commands for you to follow. Most times, these commands will come in the form of:
- Assist in trial setting
- Be a liaison between the client and lawyer
- Fill out child support worksheets
- Perform client interviews
- Prepare and draft motion
- Prepare and review discovery packages
- Prepare trial notebooks
- Schedule court appearances
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Family Law Paralegal?
Family law is very emotional. You may find yourself in very unique and interesting situations as a family law paralegal. It’s pertinent in this role to have good communication skills as you will be responsible for communicating with clients, officials of law enforcement, court officials, attorneys, business owners, and other entities. Family law paralegals also need top-notch organizational skills. Much of their time is spent booking appointments with clients and filing paperwork. Mistakes in appointment books and on paper can be detrimental to your career.
What Is the Most Common Task for a Family Law Paralegal?
Family law paralegals spend the majority of their time on the phone. They talk to everyone involved in a case. Many calls are spent talking with court officials, opposing counsel, potential clients, and law enforcement officials. These paralegals must be intuitive when choosing which calls to handle with priority. Having the ability to take detailed notes over the phone is important in this occupation. If you don’t enjoy talking on the phone, you may not want to be a family law paralegal.
Another task that will take up your time as a paralegal is assisting clients with discovery requests. It is often a client who has to ask for certain official documents. If the client doesn’t know how to request documents, the family law paralegal can assist. This role also includes assembling the discovery and providing it to the opposing counsel.
How to Become a Family Law Paralegal?
Many firms require their family law paralegal to have a two- or four-year degree in a related legal subject. Some may even require you to get a certified as a family law paralegal. The more credentials you have showcasing your expertise, the better. For those with no prior experience working in a firm, it’s best to get an internship. Preferably, the internship will be a firm that specializes in family law. As you intern at the firm, you will acquire a lot of knowledge that will help you further in your career. If you get a four-year degree, you can get go through a certification program once you graduate. Employers look favorably on those with a degree and a family law certificate.
Some law firms don’t require any of their paralegals to have a degree, but family law paralegals almost always benefit from having one. There are different programs you can complete to get a degree, but it’s important to find one that complements your career aspirations.