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Paralegals are also known as legal assistants. They are the people who assist lawyers or attorneys to provide legal services to the clients; they work under the guidance of the lawyers. Legal assistants work in legal companies, with the government, in corporations and other legal practice environments. The legal assistant field is growing in an alarming rate. The demand of the paralegals is increasing with the law firms and other law practice areas. The paralegals are not the ones who present a case in the court or give Legal Advice to the clients or establish legal fees or even sign documents filed with court. But they are performing tasks that are formally executed by lawyers.

According to the owner of, A. Harrison Barnes the legal assistants have the option to carry on their legal career in a particular area of law which includes tax, employment, immigration laws, divorce and patent. They even have the choice to go for specialization in complex laws. The specialized field chosen by the legal assistants have further subdivisions lie the paralegal who is working in the area of intellectual property may further specialize in trademarks and work under it. The legal assistants with less experience often have to work some menial tasks. But as they gain experience, they make themselves responsible for important tasks. The paralegals mostly spend time in the office or the library. But they even require traveling to assist in investigations.

Duties of Paralegals

They assist attorneys in presenting other legal services to the clients such as preparing for closings, trails, corporate meetings, hearings. They research legal documents, investigate the cases, identifying the witnesses and interview them, providing legal trial assistance, hearings, administrative proceedings, arbitrations and closings, drafting the mortgages, motions, briefs and pleadings, contracts, deposition notices, subpoenas, separation agreements and also trust instruments, tracking, organizing and managing case files, exhibits and documents, helping prepare legal arguments and obtaining affidavits, file legal documents with state and federal courts.

But A. Harrison Barnes states that the work of legal assistants vary with kind of legal practice area they are working in. the work in corporations is different from the government agencies and private law firms.

Qualification and Education

A. Harrison Barnes says that you can become a paralegal after earning the degree of associate in the paralegal studies. You can even earn a paralegal certificate after your graduation from a college. There are even many schools that provide 2 year master’s degree and 4 year bachelor’s degree. There are many legal secretaries who are promoted to the position of paralegal or are even hired without any formal training the paralegal studies; they receive training on job. People with specialized technical legal training are also hired as legal assistants. These fields include law enforcement, tax preparation and nursing.

You also have the choice for opting online paralegal associate’s degree. This program also provides complete knowledge to perform the paralegal duties in court houses, corporate in house counsel offices, administrative agencies, law offices and insurance companies. The students just need to take courses in legal writing, civil litigation, legal research and public speaking. A. Harrison Barnes says that you do not need to worry about the worth of this online program because you will understand it when you will be aware of the increasing demand for this kind of work. The paralegal field is growing and will continue to grow in the near future. Thus it is an excellent opportunity to opt for the online programs.

Paralegal Skills

After the paralegal students have gained their paralegal degree, they are capable enough to perform the duties of a legal assistant says A. Harrison Barnes. They accumulate great knowledge in substantive law, state and federal rules of law procedures and legal terminology. They are skillful enough to analyze problems and solve it. They gain writing and human relation skills apart from gaining ability to think critically. They have to handle and manage hundreds of case files and thus they during their course they gain the ability to organize things well and keep a track of everything. Since their duty includes interviewing the witnesses and the clients, vendors, experts and other lawyers, court personnel, thus they acquire good communication skills. They also gain the capability to make strong research that is required to prepare research memorandums.

Paralegal Salary

According to A. Harrison Barnes the paralegals can expect a salary according to your ability and experience which ranges between $25,000to $59,000 per year. There are many paralegals that even get their annual salary in six figures. It all depends upon the experience and the organization you are working with.

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