Paralegal Studies to Counter Increasing Demands for Legal AssistantsWritten by Sara Jenkins
An attorney, judge, prosecutor, or any public defender cannot assume full responsibility over whole phase of legal work. Even with their outstanding and brilliant minds, they still cannot carry on without any assistant. With their hectic and extremely tight schedules, preparation for their legal duties must be given attention by an assistant before they can proceed with formal proceedings. This is where paralegals come into scene. And who are these paralegal assistants? These are persons who had backgrounds in paralegal profession.
First, what is paralegal and who are these paralegal persons? Paralegal is called a profession, which endures most interesting aspects of legal activities like variety of tasks of legal community. Within bounds of paralegal profession encompasses diverse range of responsibilities, projects, environments, and functions in legal industry. A paralegal may not assume legal work of lawyers, however they carry in their own hands tasks such as whole segment of trial preparation or case management. Their key duties include: analyses of documents and data in relation to legal proceedings of cases, compiling, organizing, then presenting newfound information to lawyer. Presentation is carefully condensed into an outline with case history, plan of actions plus relevant notes that will help construct any precedents, case, hearings, or laws matters.
Among countless agencies where a paralegal assistant will be found are: courts, state and government agencies, corporations, finance companies, banks, accounting firms, engineering firms, consumer organizations, legal aid offices. Some of commercial firms where a paralegal can provide services are: entertainment production outfits, public relations agencies, advertising companies, insurance agencies, or real estate agencies. Flexibility of paralegal profession may also be seen in surroundings like civil rights and criminal law, civil litigation, health care, family laws, environmental protection, corporate law, immigration, and others.
The Paralegal Certificate ProgramWritten by Sara Jenkins
A paralegal or legal assistant “is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”
A paralegal has a limited task that can perform. He cannot represent a client on a trial or accept a case. He cannot also give legal advice. In short, a paralegal cannot perform functions that are considered as a law practice. The paralegal performs some duties of attorney such as but not limited to conducting and interview to client, locating witnesses, conducting investigation, legal research, and interviews, drafting legal document, correspondents and pleadings with supervision of an attorney.
To become a certified paralegal or Certified Legal Assistant CLA, he or she must achieve requirements such as graduating from a paralegal certificate program that is approved by ABA; “or an associate degree program; or a paralegal post-baccalaureate certificate program; or a paralegal certificate program with 60 semester hours of which at least 15 semester hours are substantive legal courses.” He can also be a paralegal if he or she has any bachelor’s degree plus a one year experience as a legal assistant with a completion of at least 15 semester hours or substantive legal assistant courses. Or he or she could have a high school diploma or equivalent to seven years experience as a legal assistant under supervision of a member of Bar.
If an individual want to become a paralegal through paralegal certificate program, many educational institutions are offering paralegal certificate program as a professional course. It is aimed to prepare future paralegal certificate program holders in paralegal career. The paralegal certificate program of some institutions are focused of practical skills and research while other are focused on classroom lectures while other paralegal certificate program can be acquired online.