If you think an attorney has a head full of important legal knowledge, you should meet our paralegal, Shelly Galbreth. She aids in many aspects of construction and other business litigation as well as other matters such as court filings, and document preparation…oh, and did I mention she also serves as office manager, not to mention personal assistant to the entire attorney staff? I’m not sure where we’d be without Shelly, or for that matter, what any attorney would do without the help of a competent, detail-oriented professional to aid him or her through the work days and weeks. To alter an old adage: behind every great lawyer, is a great paralegal. In other words, paralegals exist to make lawyers look good. Below, Shelly discusses the job-description and rigors of being a successful paralegal.
Is law the field for you? Have you thought of becoming a paralegal?
Legal work can be thrilling – the intrigue of courtroom drama – but not for a paralegal. Let’s be serious, there is no suspense or glory inherent in being a paralegal. A paralegal’s time is spent with nose in books, case law, and computer screens, assisting lawyers as they prepare for hearings, trials, depositions, negotiations, and client meetings.
A paralegal is often vital in tracking down pertinent case information. Often tasked with examining prior judicial decisions, a paralegal’s duties include uncovering controlling and persuasive precedent and other investigative aspects of a case. Additionally, a paralegal aids lawyers in and out of the courtroom by reviewing, editing, and organizing documents and making them easily accessible.
Many of the duties assigned to the paralegal involve paperwork, often of a highly technical nature. Because of nature of the position, a paralegal needs to be trained in the preparation of court motions, the drafting of pleadings and other paperwork. Strong attention to detail, grammar and word processing skills, excellent communication, and the ability to work within tight deadlines are the required skillsets for the successful paralegal.
While an aspiring paralegal should also be prepared to think on his or her feet, it is crucial that paralegal and attorney work in harmony for the benefit of the client. It’s amazing how communication and organization calms everyone’s nerves.
So, are you up for the job?