Many become confused regarding the difference between a paralegal and a qualified lawyer. But these two professions have key differences which make it simple to understand. If you need legal assistance, you must know the difference so you can potentially save money on important legal matters, because hiring an attorney could be costly and unnecessary.
The Definition of a Paralegal
A paralegal is trained in legal matters, but does not have the full qualifications of an attorney. A paralegal often assists qualified lawyers in performing legal work. A person becomes qualified for a job as a paralegal through education, training or work experience. The person working as a paralegal must have a thorough knowledge of the legal system, as well as legal concepts, organization, analysis and communication.
How a Paralegal Differs from an Attorney
A paralegal differs from a licensed attorney in a number of ways. There are many things they cannot do that an attorney can. Some of the actions only a licensed attorney can perform are the following:
- Giving legal advice
- Appearing in court as counsel of record
- Having an attorney-client relationship
- Signing pleadings as a representative
However, a paralegal can perform a wide variety of tasks that assist other attorneys or the public. Some of the duties a paralegal can perform are the following:
- Legal research
- Case management
- Legal Writing
- Preparation of exhibits
In many cases, a paralegal can work independently. However, in some regions or states, paralegals are required to work under licensed attorneys who take the final responsibility for any work performed. When you see the term, legal document preparer you know that this is the title of an independent legal assistant who cannot call themselves a paralegal because they do not work for a lawyer.
An Education for a Career as a Paralegal
While some paralegals complete formal education, many simply have on-the-job training. Certification can be obtained through National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). State requirements, or even those of a particular firm or association, sometimes necessitate that a paralegal take part in a Continuing Legal Education program. With this type of program, a paralegal can maintain their credentials.
Paralegals have a unique ability to help others within the legal field, and although their abilities are somewhat limited, they are knowledgeable about the areas that are most important, like filling out legal papers, doing research and other key aspects of legal work. They are a large help to lawyers who otherwise would have little time to spend for their clients in court.
The author has an immense knowledge on paralegals. Know more about paralegals in Sacramento click here
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