Whether you’re glued to the tube watching Law and Order reruns or binge watching How to Get Away with Murder on Netflix, you have an interest in criminal law. But could you imagine yourself as an actual member of a criminal defense team? Paralegals in criminal defense help attorneys and clients and are vital to smooth legal operations and the outcome of justice.
If you become a paralegal, you’ll spend a lot of time at your computer. That’s because so much of what used to be piled into bulky paper files has now gone online. You’ll need to be familiar with all the specialized software, filings and forms that occur online. That doesn’t mean you won’t still have traditional folders and files. You’ll work both offline and online.
In Criminal Defense, you might interact with defendants and their families, attorneys, bail bondsman, courtroom clerks, witnesses, trial experts, private investigators, probation officers and more. You won’t have the same responsibilities as the attorneys you work for but you will assist them with a variety of very important tasks. You might make arrangements for a defendant’s bail or file motions to reduce it. You’ll gather discovery information like police reports, search warrants and witness affidavits. You may interview witnesses, take statements and help prepare legal paperwork. You’ll also help with research on a range of topics from legal precedence to jury pool selection.
And throughout it all, you’ll need to keep accurate records and meet strict deadlines. A missed deadline could cost your client –big time! You’ll need to double and triple check your own work, but also the work of others. You may even need to sit in at trial, take notes and help the attorney in any way you can. Remember, a defendant’s life could hang in the balance so everyone needs to do their very best work.
Does the work of a paralegal sound exciting and rewarding to you? Check out the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Studies or the Legal Secretary Diploma programs at Career Quest Learning Centers. You could get started in a rewarding career in criminal defense. Call us in Lansing at 877-481-4930 or Jackson at 877-365-8144 today.