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Litigation Paralegal Job Description & Duties

The litigation paralegal job description covers a wide array of duties and responsibilities. As a litigation paralegal, you will play a crucial role in the law firm or legal department you work in. From before a trial begins to long after it’s over, the litigation paralegal job description is involved in all aspects of the legal battle. With proper litigation paralegal training, you can be prepared to take on the many tasks associated with the litigation paralegal job description.

What Does a Litigation Paralegal Do?

The litigation paralegal job description is similar to that of a lawyer in many ways. Don’t be mistaken, litigation paralegals are not allowed to practice the law. However, the work they do shadows that of an attorney, and they play a large role in every phase of a trial from preliminary investigations to appeals. Some of the specific litigation paralegal job description duties include:

As you can see, the litigation paralegal job description involves every step of the legal process from beginning to end.

Investigation
In the pre-trial, or investigation, phase of a court case, litigation paralegals take on many challenges. They commonly search out, and interview, key witnesses. They gather and organize all of the material pertaining to the trial. From witness statements, they recreate the facts of the case and present them to the lawyers. They research relevant case law.

Pleadings
Litigation paralegals on the plaintiff side may assist in drafting summonses, affidavits, and complaints. Litigation paralegals on the defense side investigate the allegations and help the defendant formulate a response.

Discovery
Litigation paralegals usually spend much time on the discovery phase of a trial. They help the attorney draft interrogatories and requests for discovery items. On the defense side, they help investigate the charges and help the defendant to formulate responses to the discovery motions.

The Trial Phase
Litigation paralegals are invaluable assets during a trial. They organize documents and exhibits, prepare subpoenas, prepare witnesses for trial, and arrange for transportation of the witnesses. They are generally in charge of the trial notebook. They help to select the jury and then carefully observe the jury during the trial, reporting to the attorney any behaviors that may have an impact on the trial. They hand the attorney the specific exhibits and documents that are needed during a trial. They request and review trial transcripts. They make relevant notes during a trial that may prove to be important to the attorney.

Types of Litigation Paralegal Jobs

The litigation paralegal job description can change depending on your employer. While most litigation paralegals work for attorneys or entire law firms, some also work for the legal departments of business or corporations. These different work environments can cause the litigation paralegal job description to change in certain ways, but you can always expect to assist attorneys throughout legal battles.

How Are Litigation Paralegals Different From Legal Secretaries?

Unlike the litigation paralegal job description, legal secretaries tend to have more clerical and administrative duties associated with their job. For example, a legal secretary may be responsible for answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, drafting memos, and more. Their work does not usually involve as much legal research as the litigation paralegal job description does, and they will almost never be present in a court room.

However, in some cases, you will find that an employer does not distinguish between the term paralegal and legal secretary. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of any paralegal job description before applying and interviewing for it.

Litigation Paralegal Job Opportunities

The number of litigation paralegal jobs is expected increase at about the same rate as other career fields over the next decade. Beyond your education program, there are several ways you can improve your chances of finding a job or increasing your litigation paralegal salary. For example, you may seek a litigation paralegal certification, which can be earned after passing an exam from one of several nationally recognized organizations.