The Basics of Paralegal: Definition and False Beliefs

by 48 Minutes | Monday, May 9, 2016 | 595 views

Paralegal ExpertSo, you want to be a paralegal. You’re looking for the best programs and you’re thinking of choosing either live lectures or online learning. Well, you have various options. Just make sure to complete all paralegal school requirements, and you’ll be just a few steps away from your dreams.

However, are you sure you know what you’re dreaming of? A great number of people fail to understand the job of a paralegal. There are a lot of misconceptions about it, so you may want to make sure you really know how it’s like to work as one.

Defining a Paralegal

A paralegal is a trained professional who performs legal work. Apparently, they should be knowledgeable about the law. Paralegal is synonymous to legal assistant; however, paralegals usually have greater expertise and can perform more substantial tasks. Preparation of legal documents, legal research, and legal investigations are some of the tasks they do.

Paralegal Misconceptions

Paralegals and lawyers do the same things (or almost all). Yes, paralegals can do a lot of tasks that lawyers likewise do, but the difference is that they cannot act as a legal representative. It takes more requirements, knowledge, and skills to be able to work as a lawyer.

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The following lists some of what paralegals usually do:

  • Paralegals can give legal advice. Apart from the fact that they cannot represent clients, they likewise cannot and should not give legal advice. More than being wrong, doing so is actually illegal.
  • Paralegals have eight-hour jobs. Completing eight working hours a day is one of a paralegal’s job requirements. But in reality, they do a lot of overtime work due to heavy workload and some unexpected circumstances.
  • Paralegals master all aspects of the law. Just like lawyers, paralegals different specializations. For instance, a bankruptcy paralegal knows everything about bankruptcy; but may not be that familiar with child custody, criminal defense, and other areas of the law.

These are just a few of the many misconceptions about working as a paralegal. Have you heard all of them? You may want to hear more. Actually, you should. You need to do enough research before pursuing a career or anything that can have a huge impact on your life.

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