Paralegal jobs allow skilled professionals to provide support to attorneys and corporate legal departments with their legal work. There are several types of jobs available to paralegals, including corporate paralegal jobs, litigation paralegal jobs, and non-profit paralegal jobs. Some paralegals are called legal assistants, but their duties and responsibilities are often the same, and many legal assistants also have paralegal training. Many paralegals perform the tasks that lawyers are trained to do, but they are not permitted to provide legal advice to clients or act in ways that would be considered practicing law. The number of jobs for paralegals is expected to grow as more attorneys and organizations will be more willing to delegate tasks in order to cut the labor and other costs for hiring attorneys to do the same jobs.
Corporate paralegal jobs exist in most corporations with a legal department. The paralegal is often responsible for preparing and processing paperwork related to a corporation’s internal and external activities. For example, a paralegal who works for an insurance company may draft letters and send out letters that deny claims, along with explanations for the denials as required by law. A paralegal in a corporate department may be responsible for preparing and filing annual reports to the regional government agency to ensure that the corporation remains in good standing. It’s also common for some corporate paralegals to prepare contracts and other agreements on behalf of the corporation, though under the supervision of the corporation’s attorney.
Litigation paralegal jobs allow paralegals to work on civil or criminal trials. Attorneys often delegate various aspects of preparing for trial to paralegals so that they can concentrate on preparing arguments, depositions, and other key aspects of litigation. Some of the duties and responsibilities of litigation paralegals include drafting complaints and other legal pleadings, figuring out and keeping track of court deadlines for cases, and conducting interviews. Litigation paralegals are often required to take special courses to train in litigation procedures and legal research. The opportunities for jobs range from working for a solo practitioner to working for a non-profit legal organization that provides free or low-cost litigation services to qualified individuals.
Non-profit paralegal jobs can include litigation and non-litigation work. Many paralegals interact with clients to collect the facts and information they need to prepare the necessary paperwork or legal pleadings. They often do all the work that pertains to a case without crossing the line of practicing law, and many paralegals enjoy that level of responsibility.