Paralegal Requirements and Work Skills
A paralegal job involves duties similar to a lawyer. People who have interest about law, but are not interested in attending law school prefer to be paralegals. This career allows an individual learning more regarding the legal system as well as witness different scenarios involved in the courtroom. Although paralegal and lawyer has similar duties but a paralegal is not allowed to give legal advice. Likewise, a paralegal is the one responsible in preparing things as well as scheduling of court appearance.
In this sense, it is necessary that a paralegal should develop work skills. It is important to have a good foundation of basic skills in order to become successful and excel in the paralegal field. This can be possible through proper training and obtaining experiences. Knowing the paralegal duties can help in determining the work skills required when working as paralegal. Nevertheless, the paralegal requirements work skills differ according to the type of law a paralegal is involved.
For instance, the work skills required for an experienced law paralegal include the ability of drafting simple documents. Reviewing commercial real estate is one of the skills that real estate paralegal should develop. On the other hand, a nurse paralegal should be skilled in reading and analyzing medical reports. Thus, a paralegal should be knowledgeable about the working skills required in the field of law he or she is working. Here are some of the paralegal requirements work skills.
Being in the law practice, having effective communication skill is one of the paralegal requirements. This skill is needed when conducting interviews with clients, taking statement, contacting expert, discussing a deal with an attorney and scheduling court reporter. As a paralegal, most of the time is spend in communicating with others. Effective communication skills is very significant because as the right hand of a lawyer, a paralegal also serves as liaison between experts, clients, opposing counsel, vendors and other parties involved in the transaction or litigation.
If you want to work in a paralegal position, it is essential to have excellent writing skills. It is because this career requires drafting of correspondence, motions, pleadings, legal memorandums, briefs and many other documents. Likewise, writing is one of those paralegal requirements that are significant in carrying out their functions. In this sense, it is necessary to master concise, clear as well as persuasive written communications that will make them stand out among others. In addition, the best paralegal should have the ability writing communications and other documents with correct spelling, sentence structure and grammar. This makes sense of taking a paralegal training program as it can help in improving the writing abilities.
3. Investigative and research skills
Aside from mastering traditional methods in legal research, a paralegal must also be skillful on internet research and using legal research databases. Good investigative skills in criminal, transactional and civil contexts are also important in tracking down documents, evidence, records and witnesses. Likewise, a paralegal must possess the ability to read, analyze, comprehend as well as mention resources efficiently.
4. Technology skills
Employers in the legal market prefer hiring paralegals with technology skills. It is because technology is useful in practicing law that is why paralegals should be efficient in handling spreadsheet, word processing, database, presentation, legal research software and telecommunications. In addition, e-discovery and litigation support are the new paralegal niches in legal technology. Thus, having advanced technology skills gives edge to a paralegal in the competitive legal market. Likewise, most of the paralegal works are done on a computer. In this sense, it is significant for a paralegal to be knowledgeable about computer and can work with various computer programs.
Generally, lawyers depend some matters to paralegals such as bringing order and filing cases in criminal, transactional and civil matters. Corporate transactions and document-intensive litigation produce massive data and documents. In this sense, one of the paralegal requirements is the ability to organize such as sorting, categorizing, indexing and manipulating information. In the same manner, a paralegal should be able to prepare everything prior to deadlines in order to avoid possible problems. It is because missing of deadlines will mean dire consequences that might lead to unfortunate event or lost cases.
Most of the time paralegals are juggling multiple tasks in such a way that the ability to handle multi-task is highly needed. Likewise, this paralegal requirements work skill is useful in balancing competing priorities. Usually, a paralegal is performing several tasks at the same time. That is why aside from the ability of handling multi-task, a paralegal should also have flexible thinking, ability to balance the demands and prioritizing assignments.
A good paralegal should be possessing good teamwork skill. It is because teamwork is essential in delivering quality legal services. Likewise, it is necessary that every member of a team should possess multiple skills. In addition, it is important that paralegals should have the ability to work collaboratively with other parties such as clients, experts, vendors and opposing counsel.
8. Attention to details
One of the duties of paralegals is to give attention to every detail since the attention of the lawyer is focused on the bigger picture. Being focused is a skill that every paralegal should have so that he or she can manage logistical complexities such as preparation for a trial and other tasks such as tracking court dates, double-checking budgets, numbering exhibits as well as filing deadlines.
9. Critical thinking skills
Having good critical thinking skills is one of the important skills that a paralegal should possess. In this way, he or she will be able to analyze case details and data efficiently. It is also necessary to have critical eye along with critical thinking because those are essential in conducting legal research, interviewing clients and understanding complex legal issues.
Indeed, becoming a paralegal is not an easy career because it requires lots of skills to develop. Obviously, those paralegal skills mentioned above are not natural to people that is why it should be honed. Therefore, the key on developing those skills is to enroll in a paralegal program and training in order to know and develop the necessary skills. After all, the investment you will spend in paralegal programs is worthy once you having developed those skills.
Moreover, that in any type of career, developing skills is very important. In this sense, if you think that you are unable to cultivate those skills, then you should not try any paralegal program. It will only be a waste of money and time as you cannot carry out the job of a paralegal efficiently. In addition, you will also need the help of other people so that you will learn useful tips on how to develop those work skills. Remember that once your future employer notices your skills, there is a great chance of landing a job.
That is why the first thing to do in gaining those skills is to find an accredited school that does not offer approved paralegal programs. Choose schools that are concerned about developing the skills in every student. In this way, anyone can ensure that after completing the program, a student can efficiently carry out the job even without supervision from a lawyer.