Paralegal Do’s and Don’ts: What can (and can’t) a paralegal do for you

Just knowing how the paralegal profession came about (the reason for its development) provides much insight into the role of paralegals. Similarly, the paralegal definition itself explains the type of support paralegals provide. Knowing these things, however, stops short of explaining what a paralegal can (and can’t) do for you. Paralegals: What do they do By knowing the definition of a paralegal, you know what paralegals do – they provide substantive legal support to attorneys. I know, it still doesn’t really detail what they do. That’s understandable, though. The definition is relatively broad because paralegals perform a broad range of tasks. When I talk to attorneys who don’t know what they can delegate to their paralegal, I tell them to think about all the things they (the attorneys) do throughout the day. That’s what their paralegal can do. In essence, a paralegal can perform any task an attorney normally does … Continue reading

The Paralegal Profession: [Almost] everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

When you work as a paralegal in a law firm or legal department, everyone knows your purpose; after all, they hired you to do the job. However, since I began offering paralegal services to attorneys on a full-time basis, I found that MANY attorneys, especially younger attorneys, don’t actually know the paralegal’s role. Some attorneys will come straight out and say, ‘I don’t know what a paralegal could do for me; I don’t even know what they do.’ Others hesitantly admit, with a slight twinge of guilt, that they’re not really sure of the paralegal’s role. At first, I was surprised. But the more I thought about it I realized it should be no surprise at all — after all, they don’t teach you about paralegal support in law school any more than they teach you how to start, build, and operate your law practice. As such, it only makes … Continue reading

The Paralegal Profession: A Brief History for Attorneys

As I prepared to explain what paralegals are, I thought it only appropriate to begin with a brief overview of the profession itself. Albeit true to form, my explanation of paralegals is longer than anticipated, so I’ve decided to use a brief overview of the profession as a precursor and give it a home of its own. Perhaps it’s more fitting, anyway, as what follows may just surprise you. Did you know? I still work with attorneys who remember what it was like to work without paralegals. No, I don’t mean in the sense of attorneys who just don’t work with paralegals; I mean attorneys who remember when there was no such thing as paralegals. Most attorneys today – especially younger attorneys – will be surprised to learn that the paralegal profession is a relatively young profession. In fact, the youth of the profession still puts me in awe when … Continue reading