Last summer, we took a broad look at careers in litigation. Today, we want to drill down a little more at a specific career path within litigation: a litigation paralegal. What do litigation paralegals do, and what skills do you need to bring to the table to succeed? As with any other paralegal career, litigation paralegals work under lawyers’ supervision who specialize in settling legal disputes in court. That means their paralegals help manage legal cases before, during, and after the litigation process. Let’s take a closer look.
The role of a paralegal begins with the investigation process. They may locate and interview witnesses to take statements, gather documents and evidence, and organize case investigation information. They will also put together a chronological list of facts. If the paralegal is working with the plaintiffs’ counsel, they may do initial interviews and case assessments.
A paralegal may also assist in drafting the pleadings. This can include summons, complaint, and affidavits. If they’re working on the defense, they may investigate the allegations in collaboration with the client. Paralegals working in litigation may also create and maintain indexes of pleadings, file with the court, and keep a calendar of dates and deadlines.
The bulk of a litigation paralegal’s work is in discovery. This is the method by which the facts and supporting information of the case are gathered and compiled. Discovery has been made a little more streamlined with advancements in technology, specifically the use of e-discovery to find electronic records.
Pre-trial Organization and Communication
A paralegal will also work as the liaison between all parties in the case. That means they need to organize all the details before the trial as well as communicate effectively and efficiently with everyone who needs to know information about everything that happens next.
During the trial, the paralegal will assist the attorneys with documents, exhibits, and evidence. They also assist with jury selection and preliminary examinations of witnesses. They become an indispensable resource taking notes and working closely with everyone involved in the trial.
If a case is settled, a litigation paralegal will also assist with the process by creating negotiation checklists, distributing statements, drafting settlement agreements, and assisting at any pretrial conferences.
Issues for Appeal
When trials are appealed, litigation paralegals will also assist with the entire process. They will identify issues, gather documents and evidence, and assist in research. They may also draft the appellate documents for their attorneys.
Are You Looking for Your Next Paralegal job in The D.C Area?
Call NRI Legal Staffing today or browse our online job board. NRI is one of the leading employment agencies in VA and beyond for paralegals looking for work.