What is a paralegal job?
Paralegals are professionals who work with attorneys and have extensive knowledge of legal matters and laws.
Although they do not have the license to practice law, represent clients in court, or offer legal advice, they are an integral part of any legal team as they provide support to lawyers and help conduct research which are crucial aspects of legal work.
If you are considering a career in law but don’t want to go through law school or appear for bar exams, becoming a paralegal is a great option.
Plus, the job outlook for paralegals is projected to grow by 14% by 2031, which is much faster than the average growth for other job profiles.
Now, before you sit down to draft your resume and send out those job applications, you must be thorough with the paralegal job description so that you know what this role entails.
Read on to get an insight into the paralegal job description and other related FAQs like the following:
- Where do paralegals work?
- What does a paralegal do?
- What are some paralegal job requirements?
- What is the job description of a paralegal?
- What is a good litigation paralegal job description sample?
Who Hires Paralegals?
A variety of law firms, state & federal government agencies, private companies, insurance firms, and other corporate organizations can employ paralegals.
And depending on the employer, the paralegal job description can slightly vary from each other.
The following are some niches in which you can specialize as a paralegal and get hired by firms specializing in the same area:
- Family law
- Criminal defense
- Real estate
- Corporate firms
- Intellectual property law
- Estate planning and probate law
- Banking and finance institutions
- Immigration law
Paralegal Job Duties
As stated earlier, the role of a paralegal and the job duties that entail this position vary based on the niche and the employer.
However, given below are some of the general duties that are a part of a paralegal job description:
- Conducting interviews with clients and witnesses to investigate and collect facts
- Carrying out background checks and identifying possible witnesses
- Researching legal topics, jurisdictions, and prior legal cases to establish precedent
- Compiling relevant documents and fact sheets for trials
- Preparing reports, drafting motions, and plea agreements
- Putting together mortgage contracts, wills, and other legal documents
- Liaising between clients and attorneys to maintain clear communication
- Briefing and preparing clients for trials
- Summarizing depositions, testimonies, and interrogations
- Attending will executions, court proceedings, real estate closings, and administrative hearings with senior attorneys
Paralegal Job Requirements
While the minimum educational qualification that most paralegal job description includes is an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or a related field, most recruiters prefer hiring candidates who also hold an ABA-recognized certification in paralegal studies.
Depending on your level of experience in the industry, there are various levels of certification courses for entry-level and seasoned paralegals, like the following:
- Certified Paralegal certification - National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) certification - National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
- Professional Paralegal certification - National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
Furthermore, aspiring paralegals must meet some state-specific requirements that can apply to them based on their location.
For instance, besides meeting the educational and certification requirements, the state of Utah requires candidates to pass a professional ethics exam along with the Paralegal Practitioner Examination and have at least 1500 hours of relevant experience in the industry.
Apart from experience and educational requirements, you must have exceptional communication and organizational skills to execute the duties entailing the paralegal job description.
Given below are some of the must-have paralegal skills:
|Research Competency||Reading Comprehension|
|Legal Writing||Public Speaking|
|Client Relationship Management||Critical Thinking|
|Report Making||Calendar Management|
|Trial Preparation||Judicial Correspondence|
|Witness Preparation||Pretrial Investigation|
|Interviewing||Case File Management|
Paralegal Job Description for Resume
There are three major reasons why referring to the paralegal job description is crucial while drafting your resume:
It helps you identify the top requirements of the role, according to which you can tailor and highlight only the most relevant details in your resume
Since most recruiters use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to pick the most qualified resumes, including keywords from the paralegal job description to your resume will help it rank high in the ATS
Tailoring your resume to the job description will help you stand out from the pool of applicants and increase your chances of getting shortlisted.
For your reference, given below is a real-time paralegal job description template that you will come across in listings:
Litigation Paralegal Job Description
Looking for a detail-oriented litigation paralegal to join our legal team and provide sophisticated assistance regarding legal disputes, litigations, government investigations, and arbitrations. The ideal candidate must be able to work well under pressure and have a firm understanding of pertinent filing systems, alternate data storage, and legal paperwork procedures. The candidate must be abreast with the latest amendments to relevant state and federal legislation.
Paralegal Job Description Responsibilities
- Liaising between legal departments within the firm and outside counsels to facilitate proper communication
- Retrieving and organizing case documents and files post fact-checking investigations
- Compiling e-discoveries and documents to prepare witness interviews, proceedings, hearings, and trials
- Drafting claim responses and organizing case materials to assist with litigation reporting
- Performing administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings, replying to emails, making travel arrangements, etc.
- Sending legal hold notices to correct parties and supervising document hold programs
- Conducting fact-checking investigations for a variety of litigation and pre-litigation cases
- Preparing chronologies and document sets for attorneys
- Developing and implementing file retention processes for pleadings and litigation documents
Paralegal Job Description Requirements
- Minimum 3 years of experience in providing legal assistance
- Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills
- Proficiency with MS Office software
- Paralegal certification from an ABA-recognized institution (preferred)
- Up to par with the latest legal terminology and amendments
- Typing speed of at least 45 wpm with a high rate of accuracy
Key Points from the Blog
- Paralegals are professionals who work with attorneys and have extensive knowledge of legal matters and laws.
- A variety of law firms, state & federal government agencies, private companies, insurance firms, and other corporate organizations can employ paralegals.
- The paralegal job description includes conducting interviews with clients & witnesses to collect facts and carrying out background checks and identifying possible witnesses.
- The minimum educational qualification that most paralegal job description includes is an associate’s degree in paralegal studies or a related field.
- Research competency, reading comprehension, legal writing, public speaking, negotiation, project management, critical thinking, report making, and calendar management are some of the must-have skills of a paralegal.
- Tailoring your resume to the paralegal job description will help you stand out from the pool of applicants and increase your chances of getting shortlisted.