Not every lawyer makes their career doing battle in a courtroom. Depending on their field of specialty, some lawyers could spend more time crafting documents and researching corporate legal statutes than they ever do in front of a judge or jury. However for those lawyers who specialize in court appearances, litigation paralegals can lend an invaluable hand during all stages of a legal proceeding. From early research stages through discovery and depositions, litigation paralegals provide the support needed to ensure that the lawyer has all the information and documents necessary to allow for a decisive victory in any case. Specific job duties can change depending on the office but in general, litigation paralegals are responsible for:
- Indexing documents for trial
- Interviewing witnesses
- Drafting many types of court papers
- Researching case law
- Organizing trial documents and briefs
…and many other duties. From pre-trial to post-trial, they are an important part of the defense and of the prosecution teams.
Qualities of Litigation Paralegals
With such a heavy and important work load it’s absolutely vital that a litigation paralegal be organized and able to multitask. The job can often be stressful so a successful litigation paralegal should be calm under pressure and efficient with their time. In the legal world one error or miscommunication could cost the case so being able to convey facts and information in writing and verbally is a highly valued trait.
During the interview process the chief counsel or (more often) a human resources representative will most likely want to test these skills in order to verify that the prospective employee is capable of handling the responsibilities of the job. Depending on the place of employment and size of the firm, litigation paralegal salary rates can fluctuate greatly. As with most fields however, paralegal professionals can usually expect a raise in income as they gain experience. A strong educational background or training is often helpful in increasing earning potential as well.
Becoming a Litigation Paralegal
Like most paralegals, litigation paralegals typically have undergone some sort of formal training. Depending on which route they choose and where their career aspirations lie, litigation paralegals may possess a different certificates or degrees from programs lasting several months to several years. Most paralegals enter the field with an associate’s degree, but having a bachelor’s or a master’s degree can bring you more advancement opportunities. Like attorneys, many paralegals specialize in certain areas of law. Like many attorneys, the area of law a litigation paralegal specializes in can sometimes be dictated by which area of the job market they find themselves employed in. Most education programs however will prepare prospective paralegals with a working knowledge of most, if not all, potential employment fields.