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Paralegals: Legal Assistants Essay

1451 words - 6 pages

Definition: Legal assistants, also known as paralegals, are a distinguishable group of persons who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. Through formal education, training and experience, legal assistants have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney. (www.NALA.org)
Before starting the paralegal program, I did not have a clear understanding of what a paralegal actually does. I always been interested in being a paralegal, but never clearly understood the full responsibilities. After being in this program, I have some understanding to the many responsibilities than I initially knew. The primary function of a paralegal is to assist attorneys in preparing for hearing, trials, meetings, and real estate closings. In addition, paralegals can also do other office tasks, such as office management as trainer of new hired paralegal, book keeping, and free lancing.
NALA have available for paralegals the options of CLE (Continuing Legal Education). This program is live educational, online self-study programs, and publications which is overseen by the association’s Continuing Education Counsel. The council works with Headquarters staff, professional writers, and others in planning and developing educational programs. The three areas I have chosen for CLE are Real Estate, Social Security Representation, and State and Federal Administration Law. The three areas mentions are my areas of interest, becoming a member of NALA, will allow me the opportunity to participate in CLE to give me the necessary knowledge to better and myself and know the law behind it. For a paralegal to participate in this program, they must be an active member of NALA. Becoming a paralegal has a lot of responsibilities. Paralegals must always know and understand at all times, they are not attorneys and must avoid UPL at all times. Paralegals work under the supervision of attorneys and all legal advice, answers and concerns must be referred to the attorney they work for.
Paralegals prepare memorandums, briefs, and opinion letters for the attorney, all materials leaving the law firm must have the attorney’s signature. Also, when preparing any document for a case, citation is very and shepardizing is very important. Citations allows another person to be able to location any arguments used in the case. It must be accurate and very specific. Shepardizing, is also as important because it informs not only the paralegal, but the attorney as well on how current the case is and whether the case has been overturned or not. There are two resources available when preparing documents for the court. There’s primary and secondary resources and finding tools. Primary resource is the law itself, constitution, statute, and common-law cases. Secondary resource being legal encyclopedias, legal dictionaries, treaties, textbooks, and legal...

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