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Legal Studies Program LibGuide

This guide collects information, websites, and library resources for completing assignments and preparing for a career as a paralegal.

Professional Associations

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Legal Studies Careers

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RESPONSIBILITIES

A paralegal may work for an attorney, law office, corporation, or governmental agency, and  assist lawyers with the day-to-day duties or the practice. Job duties include gathering and organizing evidence for investigations and trials, conducting research to help support a case, preparing notes or summaries of transcripts, whatever is needed for the attorney to prepared for trial. Paralegals also aid in preparing contracts, filing legal documents and records, interact with clients and witnesses, and schedule and conduct interviews and meetings.

Paralegals must be extremely organized, have a sharp eye for detail, be skilled in technology,  be able to multitask effectively. Many duties also involve the use of technology, so being digitally savvy will serve you well, and be prepared to keep learning and stay alert for new laws and regulations.

SPECIALITIES

Corporate.  As the name suggests, corporate paralegals work for corporations rather than individual clients. It is generally behind-the-scenes work that includes reviewing contracts, researching regulations, laws, statutes, codes, etc. Rarely do corporate paralegals interact with clients.

Probate and Estate Planning. In this specialty, paralegals work with older clients and help them navigate the sensitive and complicated path of estate planning, or with grieving family members settling the estate of loved ones. Tasks include assisting with writing wills, distributing property, paying inheritance taxes, recording deeds, and other administrative duties.

Family Law.  Paralegals assist lawyers who are representing families involved in custody proceeding.  They draft correspondence, prepare pleadings, keep track of files, send documents to clients, opposing counsel and the courts.This can be emotionally sensitive work that requires a well developed capacity for empathy and patience.

Government. Local, state, and federal governments employ paralegals to do similar work to that involved in a typical law firm. Specific job duties will depend on the particular of government, which can be as varied as a local city attorney, a federal court, or a branch of the military. Government paralegals must possess a high level of attention to detail, a strong understanding of legal procedures, and documents, as well as excellent communication skills.empathy and patience.

Immigrations. Paralegals work with immigration attorneys regarding cases of deportation or seeking political asylum. They organize and file legal documents including visa applications and petitions. Speaking more than one language is a great asset in this field.

Litigation. In this specialty work in a variety of areas of legal action such as bankruptcy, personal injury, corporate or intellectual property. Paralegals must be prepared to work in an environment that can be high-stakes and fast paced,with clients often experiencing a high degree of stress. Duties include interviewing witnesses, overseeing the discovery process, and preparing for trial.

Real Estate. Paralegals working in real estate law guide clients through the  process of buying selling property. They review and file documents, coordinate schedules and deadlines, and are responsible for correspondence between all parties involved. In the even of a dispute over boundaries, foreclosure issues, or zoning problems will work with clients to help them understand their options and make sure their intents are met.


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