Paralegals assist lawyers and private offices as well as large law firms. The National Federation of Paralegal Associates defines a paralegal as a person who conducts substantive legal work on behalf on an attorney. The manner in which a paralegal gains experience can vary greatly. Some paralegals are trained on the job while others receive formal education in a classroom setting. Many strengths are beneficial to the development of a strong, highly desirable paralegal.
Paralegals often serve as office managers and administrators for private lawyers. Having strong paralegals who run legal offices, take care of client files and manage office visitors is a priceless asset to any law firm or private attorney. According to the Empowered Paralegal, a strong paralegal manages clients, calendars, systems and time. Empowered Paralegal recommends that paralegals work with their attorneys to create an index or filing system to better organize important office files.
Strong paralegals are detail-oriented and have superior research skills. Lawyers often defer their research to a strong paralegal. Court documents, client paperwork and any other needed information can be critical to a law case. Finding the correct information in a specified amount of time is a strength of a good paralegal. The more independent the paralegal is, the stronger she becomes to the attorney she works with. High-quality work often creates promotion opportunities.
A strong paralegal is an integral part of the legal team. Many paralegals specialize in different areas of law. One of the strengths of a good paralegal is the ability to hone in on the type of law he is most interested in and specialize in that area. Criminal law paralegals understand the ins and outs of the legal system. Paralegals who work with immigration attorneys are well-versed on international law.
Sometimes paralegals help with errands and other basic office duties. A strong paralegal balances work flow and functions as research assistant, legal assistant and administrative assistant. Flexibility and the ability to multitask is an attribute of the strong paralegal.
Attorneys trust that their paralegals will respect the privacy of their clients and keep all legal information and related information confidential.