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Criminal Justice Articles

What does a Paralegal do?

The paralegal profession is one of the sought after professions in the legal industry. In general, a paralegal is usually responsible for doing all of work for a lawyer. The career may require an in-depth knowledge of the legal field, but may have fewer testing and certification requirements than that of an attorney.

A paralegal typically performs a variety of tasks; one of the most important is helping with the lawyer's preparation for a trial, meeting, or hearing. The paralegal may collect, analyze, and organize the information for the lawyer. Some paralegals may also prepare written reports for the lawyer as well. Fact checking is another task often handled by a paralegal. Paralegals will gather laws, articles, judicial decisions, and other official documents that relate to a lawyer's particular case and present them in an organized fashion.

Preparation for a trial may not end with gathering information. When the lawyer decides to file suit for a particular client, the paralegal may help with much of the paperwork involved with the process. The paralegal also may help prepare the legal arguments, motions, and pleadings the attorney will use in court. Any affidavits that need to be obtained might become his responsibility as well.

Much of a paralegal's work is now done on the computer. A large amount of legal literature comes on CD-ROM or is stored on computerized databases, and the paralegal can retrieve, organize, and store the documents electronically. The paralegal might also be responsible for tracking hours spent on a case and billing clients, and this is also done on the computer. However, they may not be able to set legal fees. That is a task left to the attorney or the law firm.

While much of the work of a paralegal can be done electronically, these professionals may not be forced to sit behind a computer screen all day. They may often spend their time in legal libraries looking up documents that have not yet been digitized. They can also sometimes assist the lawyer in the courtroom. Once a trial begins, the paralegal keeps all of the necessary documents organized and available. When the attorney needs a particular file, the paralegal is responsible for knowing where it is and how to obtain it quickly.

Paralegals may not be qualified to give legal advice. However, in some law offices they can help clients by drafting some standard forms, like legal contracts and separation agreements. Clients who use an attorney to help with their finances may work with the paralegal to file tax returns or set up legal trusts. Paralegals also help with estate planning, freeing the lawyer to work on cases and lawsuits.

In a criminal defense office, the work of a paralegal focuses mostly on analyzing and collecting legal material for the attorney to use. Keeping reference files organized is another task delegated to the paralegal. Paralegals also may be required to file forms and petitions with the court while the lawyer works on the actual case. Paralegals are not allowed to present the case in court, so they fulfill a supporting role in the courtroom drama.

Schools OfferingParalegal Courses:

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Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.

Programs:

  • Certificate: Paralegal (Legal Studies)

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Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

Programs:

  • BS in Legal Support and Services - Paralegal Concentration

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As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

Programs:

  • Paralegal Studies (AS)

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Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies*

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We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.

Programs:

  • Associate of Arts: Paralegal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science: Paralegal Studies

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About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs:

  • Paralegal Studies - Associates
  • General Practice Paralegal

Locations: Nashville , San Antonio
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Start the next chapter of your life with an Associate or Bachelor degree from Miller-Motte College Online Division.

Programs:

  • Paralegal - Associate of Applied Science

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Get the career you want at Branford Hall Career Institute.

Programs:

  • Paralegal

Locations: Southington
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Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

Programs:

  • Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies

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A Tradition of Excellence since 1918

No matter what occupation you choose to pursue, the competition for a good job is fierce. Lansdale School of Business (LSB) can help you stand out from the rest by teaching you the specific skills you need to succeed in the career you desire.

Programs:

  • Associate Degree-Paralegal Studies

Locations: North Wales
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