It is not commonly known outside the legal profession what paralegals do on a daily basis. Most people know that paralegals go through extensive training, but the rest is somewhat mysterious, which is unfortunate since the work that’s done is an important part of an attorney’s repertoire. In fact, many prominent lawyers begin their careers as paralegals since the essence of the work involves dealing with the intimate details of the legal profession.
While paralegals are not licensed to practice law and are not allowed to provide legal advice, they work in every element of the law that attorneys do, and are primarily responsible for preparing cases for trial.
A day in the life of a paralegal typically involves…
- Researching legal precedents – There are certain aspects of the legal profession that are inherent to the success of any attorney but that attorneys themselves simply do not have the time to carry out. Research is time-consuming, but sits at the core of the profession. Paralegals conduct research about past cases and court decisions that are relevant to current cases in which their attorney bosses are involved. They are also responsible for uncovering all of the facts about a case and making that information available to the attorney in a concise and organized format.
- Report writing – Writing reports and putting together documents based on the research and fact-finding work they do is also a significant part of the day-to-day responsibilities of a paralegal. This information is important for the lawyer in making determinations about how to argue a case, as well as the legal strategies that will be used.
- Administrative duties – Some may consider administrative work to be the least exciting facet of a paralegal’s daily duties, but administrative work such as organizing and maintaining files, performing data entry and other “secretarial” tasks is part and parcel to the job. Paralegals who work for government agencies have a particularly high level of administrative responsibilities, such as document analysis and preparation of legal information guides.