Example Career: Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, or researching legal precedent. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.
What Job Titles Paralegals and Legal Assistants Might Have
- Law Clerk
- Legal Assistant
- Legal Clerk
What Paralegals and Legal Assistants Do
- Prepare affidavits or other documents, such as legal correspondence, and organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing system.
- Prepare for trial by performing tasks such as organizing exhibits.
- Prepare legal documents, including briefs, pleadings, appeals, wills, contracts, and real estate closing statements.
- Meet with clients and other professionals to discuss details of case.
- File pleadings with court clerk.
- Gather and analyze research data, such as statutes, decisions, and legal articles, codes, and documents.
- Call upon witnesses to testify at hearing.
- Investigate facts and law of cases and search pertinent sources, such as public records, to determine causes of action and to prepare cases.
- Direct and coordinate law office activity, including delivery of subpoenas.
- Keep and monitor legal volumes to ensure that law library is up-to-date.
- Appraise and inventory real and personal property for estate planning.
- Arbitrate disputes between parties and assist in the real estate closing process, such as by reviewing title searches.
What Paralegals and Legal Assistants Should Be Good At
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
What Paralegals and Legal Assistants Should Be Interested In
- Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
What Paralegals and Legal Assistants Need to Learn
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.