What Does A Paralegal Do: Different Types Of Law
What does a paralegal do in general is a great question. Unfortunately, paralegals don’t do the same thing in every type of law firm. Paralegals have a varied set of skills and requirements depending upon the focus of law the firm they are working for practices. Several options exist when choosing your specialization as a paralegal:
- Bankruptcy –
- Real Estate
- Intellectual Property
- Corporate Law
…are all good examples of areas a paralegal can specialize in.
What Are Some Common Paralegal Specializations?Paralegals generally have similar duties between specializations however the scope of those duties and the knowledge required to meet the demands of the position change. Some general paralegal duties are things such as:
- filing paperwork
- client meetings
- drafting or filling out contracts
However, when dealing with bankruptcy, the client meetings are going to be significantly different than dealing with real estate or intellectual property.
What a bankruptcy paralegal does in a client meeting with someone going through bankruptcy will be drastically different than what they would do in a client meeting with someone looking to fill out an intellectual property patent. The paralegal has to understand these differences, be sensitive to each situation, and at the same time be able to complete the basic tasks of their job.
What Does A Paralegal Do To Command The Highest Salary?
A few of the common fields that generally pay the best paralegal salary are intellectual property and corporate law. These fields, however, are a few of the most demanding as well. Time-sensitive work is done, and therefore often requires demanding hours. In addition, paralegals have a lot of responsibility to insure the paperwork they are filing is completely correct as the ramifications of errors in something like intellectual property can cost millions of dollars for the law firm or the client. This added responsibility and workload is part of the reason that these two particular fields pay a bit more.
Additionally, a freelance paralegal generally earns a bit more than corporate paralegals because they are able to pick and choose to which cases to work on. They can work on a case with law firm A that pays well, and then switch to law firm B if their next case is in one of the higher-paying subsets of law.
Corporate paralegals do not have this option. Their work is handed to them, and they are required to complete in a timely manner. Freelance paralegals can often command a slightly higher salary as well due to their power to negotiate their services and accept the highest bidder. Additionally, a paralegal with a degree has many more options than one without.
What Does A Paralegal Do To Land A Good Job
One important part of landing a good job is experience. If just completing their certificate or degree, a paralegal can apply for or take part in a paralegal internship. This is a great way to get on the job experience, continue to work and learn, while possibly getting a foot in the door of a local law firm or company that is looking for paralegal services.
While selling yourself as a newly-minted paralegal may be fairly difficult, if you have a paralegal internship under your belt you may find slightly more success.
The question ‘what does a paralegal do’ is a very, very broad question. A paralegal’s duties are as varied as the law firms they work for. The field of law is an ever-growing field, and paralegals are becoming more and more necessary as lawyers prices rise. In 2008, there were over a quarter of a million paralegals practicing. This number has since grown, and will continue to grow, through 2020.
Now is a great time to get a paralegal degree or certificate.