A death row pardon two minutes too late1
Can you even imagine? And what if the reason that life-saving measure didn’t make it there in time was because of a paralegal mistake?
Luckily, there are lots of precautions in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. But paralegals do have a lot of responsibility and without proper attention to detail, errors can be made. Here are some of the very serious consequences of inattention to detail in the paralegal profession:
Missed deadlines: If you’re not paying attention you could miss an important deadline. As a paralegal you might think that the attorneys you work for are always on top of due dates. The truth is that they might rely on YOU to make sure they don’t miss anything. And court dates and filing deadlines are super strict. There is no room for error.
Lost files: Even in this digital age, law offices rely on paper files a lot. If you accidentally slip a document into the wrong file, it could be totally lost. That’s why best practices for paralegals recommend that you pull out the file each and every time you want to add or take something out. That way you won’t confuse the Jones case with the Johnson case.
Typos: While an “an” instead of an “a” might not change the meaning of a legal document, misspelled names definitely could! Or if you accidentally type the 9th of the month when you really meant to hit the 8th. Imagine everyone showing up to a deposition a day late? But did you know there is a way to fix a typo even if the document has already moved on? Rule 15 allows you to amend legal documents without starting from scratch.
Missing information: What happens if you have a fully booked afternoon for your attorney and he or she needs to cancel appointments—and you’re missing contact info? Yikes! You definitely don’t want clients or potential clients showing up at your door with no one to answer their questions. You also want to make sure you include important details when you’re meeting with clients or investigators. Details count.
Poor research: It’s not always about what you did. Sometimes it’s about what you didn’t do. As a paralegal, one of your responsibilities is to conduct thorough research for attorneys and clients. You may need to compile the initial facts of a case or research relevant laws and decisions. That attention to detail means you don’t leave out anything important.
Do you have what it takes to be great at your job as a paralegal? Start with training from Career Quest Learning Centers. You could earn your Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies in as little as 15 months. Give us a call to learn more now: Lansing 877-481-4930 / Jackson 877-365-8144.
1Ironic –Alanis Morissette