How to Become a Paralegal Consultant

Becoming a paralegal consultant requires a mix of legal training and professional experience.
Becoming a paralegal consultant requires a mix of legal training and professional experience. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Paralegal consultants provide a level of expertise in various legal processes that helps law firms and corporations maintain a competitive edge. The position is open to any paralegal who has become a specialist in litigation or corporate work or who has developed a wide knowledge of the paralegal field in general. While some paralegal consultants work for consulting firms, others start their own businesses.

Obtain a bachelor’s degree in any subject. Earn a paralegal certificate from a program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Work as a paralegal with a law firm or corporation for at least four years. Litigation paralegals should become specialists in research, document analysis and trial preparation. Corporate paralegal specialists must master techniques of negotiating, reviewing and drafting contracts.

Earn specialist certification from a paralegal organization, such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). This might require you to pass an exam or have a certain amount of education and experience.

Master different types of computer programs, such as word processing, spreadsheets, graphics presentation and file management. Learn the new programs attorneys in your specialty are using. Lead training sessions to teach these programs to other paralegals.

Gain experience in determining clients’ needs. For example, clients in complex lawsuits might need a legal team with advanced training. Learn all stages of project management, from selecting new software vendors to plotting case strategy and training team members.

Learn paralegal management techniques, such as staffing cases with paralegals whose backgrounds fit the case’s subject matter and complexity. Also learn how to improve work processes while controlling costs.

Apply your paralegal expertise by volunteering with businesses and government agencies.

Write articles for paralegal magazines explaining special insight you have developed in a certain area of law. For example, paralegal consultant Judith Bandel published articles on blue-sky filings, legal research techniques and preparing corporate documents.

Identify problems with a legal team’s work process. For example, you might notice that the turnaround time for client reports is lagging because paralegals have not had sufficient training in new software.

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