What Does a Paralegal Do?

Paralegal getting ready for a trial


When you hear the word paralegal, it’s fairly obvious that it has something to do with law. But what would your day-to-day look like if you became a paralegal?


As a paralegal you’d be there to assist lawyers with whatever they need. In some ways you’d act as an assistant, but with much more responsibility. The role can be unique to the firm you join, varying based on the type of practice and number of clients. Some things will depend on who you work for, but here are some responsibilities all paralegals share.



Every case brought to a firm is different, but all of them require special attention. As a paralegal, you’d help the lawyer research and prepare for each one. You’ll find legal documents and summarize the longer ones to make it easier for lawyers to digest. The level of research required depends on the individual case, but in the end you provide the lawyer with the relevant information they will need.



When a case is done, there are mountains of paperwork to be sorted and filed. It can seem like a daunting task, but you would be expected to keep all legal documents in good order. The files might be online or in rows of filing cabinets, but all documentation from a case could be vital to future ones. Even though all cases seem unique, cases do tend to follow similar patterns or have similar elements. You’d be responsible for all of this paperwork so it can be easily referenced later on.



A case in divorce court may not require extensive investigative work, but some of the larger trials will. Lawyers manage a number of cases at a time so they’d rely on you to do some of the leg work for them. You’d work with investigators and witnesses, fact check, look for relevant precedents, and submit evidence and documents on behalf of the attorneys. This layers into the research side of the role, but is more involved and reserved for more high stake cases.



Despite all you’d do to help prepare for trial, you would not be allowed to represent a client or appear in court on their behalf. It is against the law for a paralegal to provide legal services. The importance of the paralegal role, however, extends far beyond the walls of a courthouse; lawyers might not even make it to trial without all the work you’d do. At the end of the day, your role would be to support the lawyers of your firm in any way possible. Lawyers are the face of the firm, but paralegals keep the lights on.


If this all sounds right up your alley and you’d like to learn more about paralegal or legal secretary training, Career Quest Learning Centers can help you get started. Give us a call in Jackson at 877-365-8144 or in Lansing at 877-481-4930 today.


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