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7 Skills Paralegal Needs To Succeed
A paralegal is an individual who cannot be directly employed as a legal representative by the general public but is trained in legal matters and performs legal services under the guidance of an established lawyer. They can also work as freelancers or own their own company. Mostly paralegals assist the main lawyers in their day to day work.
In some of the countries like Canada, paralegals are offered a license by the government and perform certain duties within the sanctioned limits. In order to be successful in paralegal services, a person needs to develop or possess certain skills.
Some of the major skills which a paralegal must look to inculcate are discussed below:
Good communication skills – In order to be successful in legal practice, good communication skills are essential. This skill holds great importance while interviewing a new client, preparing a petition, preparing replies for a petition, interviewing a witness, discussing an important matter with the supervising attorney etc. Being the right-hand man of an established attorney with regards to offering legal support services, paralegals have to act as an important link between the clients, experts, opposing counsel etc, in the litigation process.
Therefore having good communication skills can help a paralegal professional in optimizing his efficiency. Though communication involves writing, listening and speaking, but concise and persuasive writing skills hold the greatest importance. While preparing pleadings, motions, briefs, legal memorandums etc, this skill holds great importance.
Have flair for research and investigation – Research is another important function which a paralegal must possess. In today’s scenario, internet and legal research databases like Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis have become more popular than the old legal research methods. Strong investigative skills are important in civil, criminal, medical cases where you have to track down evidence, witnesses, medical records, etc.
Latest technology skills – Like in any other field, technology has infiltrated the paralegal sector as well. A modern day paralegal support services provider must be proficient in the latest word processing, spreadsheet, telecommunications, database, legal research software etc. The advent of technology in this field has helped in developing new niches like litigation support and e-discovery. A paralegal who is proficient in the latest technology will definitely have an edge over competitors.
Good organizational skills – Paralegals generally work as assistants to senior lawyers and are asked to organize files related to different types of cases like civil, criminal etc. A vast amount of documents and data has to be handled by the paralegals. The ability to analyze, sort, manipulate and organize all the legal information is extremely important for the paralegal experts. Good organizational skills will help in maintaining all the relevant information regarding the court cases and ensuring that the legal processes are followed properly.
Performing multiple tasks simultaneously – Generally paralegals have to work on numerous cases at the same time, so they need to be expert at multitasking. They need to be able to handle numerous cases involving different clients and ensure that all the processes are followed properly. A paralegal might have to interview a client, prepare the response to a petition, prepare a petition at the same time. So a paralegal expert must be fully attuned in this regard.
Ability to work in a team – In the legal world, teamwork is an important factor. You have to collaborate with different people like the senior attorney, clients, fellow paralegals, opposing counsel etc.
Maintaining attention to detail – There are various processes like verifying briefs and memos, document review, exhibit management, tracking court dates, filing responses keeping deadlines in mind, double-checking budgets etc, which require great attention to detail. So a paralegal expert must be proficient in this regard.
In the last few years, paralegal outsourcing services have become extremely popular. Outsourcing paralegal services offer the law firms the opportunity to reduce their work burden and employ their paralegal team on more productive tasks. Cogneesol has emerged as a leading provider of outsourcing legal support services to global law firms. For more information, log on to www.cogneesol.com.
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