Paralegals are often the backbone of a law firm. They handle anything and everything the lawyers don’t do, but there are a lot of misconceptions about working as a paralegal. A paralegal is an expert at many things, though there are a few essential factors to consider. If you think you want to get into the field, here are a few things you need to know about the job and what it does and does not do.
Paralegals Can’t Give Legal Advice
Paralegals aren’t lawyers, so they’re legally and ethically unable to provide legal advice. When working in a legal office, there should be clear boundaries about what you can do or say to a potential client, and never presume to speak for the counsel.
Paralegals Aren’t Secretaries
While a paralegal isn’t a lawyer, they also aren’t secretaries. A legal office has various administrative positions, but a paralegal is a specialized job. Most often, paralegals need to have specific training for their jobs as well as a certification.
Paralegals Aren’t Law Experts
Not every lawyer is an expert in every law. Attorneys specialize in various practice areas, such as personal injury or property. Paralegals specialize as well. Someone with a paralegal background will usually focus on a handful of practice areas and work within those types of firms.
Being a Paralegal isn’t Easy
Paralegals do a lot of work often for minimal thanks. It’s not an easy job and will frequently require extra hours to ensure that legal clients get the best service from their counsel. It may not be an easy job, but it can be rewarding to know that your work positively impacts someone’s life.
All Paralegals are Training to Be Lawyers
It’s also a misconception that all paralegals are using as a path to becoming a lawyer. While some paralegals eventually attend law school, it’s not a stepping stone for everyone. A paralegal role is an integral part of the legal ecosystem, so there will always be a need for professionals.
Are you looking for your next paralegal role? Contact the recruiters at NRI Legal Staffing to learn more.