There are different types of paralegals, each one of them specializing in a particular field of the law. Yes, one paralegal might differ from another in terms of area of interest and possibly duties based on the positions job description, but ultimately they are both still considered to be paralegals.
In this article, the spotlight will be on a litigation paralegals – we will tackle a number of matters regarding this type of paralegal, most especially his or her involvement with court proceedings.
Just Like the Rest, But Not Quite
A number of responsibilities of a paralegal might be common across different practice areas and specialties of law. Duties such as investigating facts, researching, collecting documents, drafting documents, and so forth might be common duties that a paralegal may expect.
A litigation paralegal, however, might carry out some or all of the above tasks, although he or she might focus more on duties that help prepare a lawyer for trial.
Not All Lawyers Engage in Trial Practice
When the word “lawyer” is mentioned, most people will think of a dignified looking person who is defending someone in the courtroom. But did you know that not all lawyers actually participate in trial practice? In fact, a number of lawyers may not have taken a case to trial. Lawyers that engage in trial practice are referred to by a number of people as “trial lawyers” or “litigators.”
Needless to say, paralegals that are hired by trial lawyers might be referred to as a “litigation paralegal.”
Conducting Tasks Prior the Trial
Before a case goes to trial, a paralegal might expect to be engaged in all sorts of duties that might help an attorney with his or her trial preparation. Conducting legal and factual research, researching as well as clarifying facts about the case, and helping locate documents might be included as part of the preparation.
During trial, paralegals might be responsible for setting up exhibits in the courtroom, assisting in preparing witnesses, and researching and evaluating prospective jurors. The Litigation Paralegal might also continue to serve as a liaison between clients, witnesses, experts, vendors, and the trial team during the trial.
There are a number of ways to become a paralegal. One such avenue is to enroll in a paralegal program at an ABA approved school, where you can earn your degree while developing knowledge and skills needed to prepare for an entry level job as a paralegal.
*The information provided in this article should not be considered legal advice that can only come from a qualified attorney. Paralegals may not provide legal advice except where permitted by law.