A legal assistant, also called a paralegal, works either with individual lawyers at a firm or with legal teams. He or she helps lawyers with their caseloads by performing research, searching through documents and evidence, facilitating interviews, preparing memos and providing any other assistance before and during trial proceedings. One of the key roles of a legal assistant is to help lawyers with preparing and prioritizing evidence. A legal assistant is typically tasked with looking through this potential evidence, marking passages and pages for further study by case attorneys. The legal assistant may also be tasked with providing reports and summaries of the evidence for circulation among the legal team.
Legal assistants also assist with other aspects of casework and trial preparation. They may schedule interviews, and help ensure that proper recording equipment is available and working. In some jurisdictions, depending on the case, a legal assistant may conduct these interviews, typically using questions prepared by the supervising attorney. Legal assistants also provide general find attorney administrative and organizational assistance, such as screening phone calls, scheduling meetings and taking notes on these proceedings.
There are some educational requirements that most law firms look for in hiring legal assistants. Community colleges and vocational schools offer coursework in the paralegal or legal assistant fields. In jurisdictions that require certification for legal assistants, passing this testing process is also a requirement. Most legal assistants work in a law office environment during regular business hours, but field work and some travel should be expected.
Legal Assistant Tasks
Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions and legal articles, codes and documents.
Prepare affidavits or other documents, maintain document file and file pleadings with court find attorney specialty clerk.
Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts and real estate closing statements.
Investigate facts and law of cases to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts or preparing legal documents.