Paralegals or legal assistants are highly educated and trained in the legal system. And while they are not eligible to work in the capacity of lawyers, their vast knowledge and expertise qualifies them to do work of a legal nature under an attorney’s supervision.
The work of paralegals involves preparing evidence to present in court; searching for information required by the lawyer to prepare contracts, affidavits, and other documents; search for material to prepare for a trial; and a lot more. To be a valuable resource to an attorney or firm, it is important to continually acquire and develop essential skills for better job performance.
Must have qualities for paralegals include:
Ingenuity or resourcefulness and creativity are important qualities for great paralegals. You should have the intelligence and assertiveness to address problems and issues without waiting for an attorney to ask you to. Besides identifying problems and seeking to solve them yourself, you must be inventive and resourceful to handle issues in the most brilliant way.
If there is a problem you can’t solve on your own, you should be able to use your other skills to propose a possible solution to the attorney.
You must use good judgment to not only identify the most appropriate route to take when tackling an issue, but also to avoid mistakes that could make the situation worse. You need to anticipate problems that may arise.
Great paralegals should be able to think logically and analytically when dealing with complex, abstract, and ambiguous elements of the law, in order to identify and assess facts and key concepts pertaining to a specific case. Thinking ahead will help you identify road bumps long before they become obstacles.
- Great communication
This trait will help to enhance your ability to communicate facts and deductions in a concise manner to the lawyer, as well as to other people you encounter.
Whether interviewing clients, contacting people for research, scheduling count appointments, or writing statements for witnesses, you must be able to express yourself candidly, showing great understanding of the matter at hand.
- Organizing skills
The work of paralegals involves managing information for all the cases they prepare. Considering the huge volumes of information involved, you must be well organized. All the law books, electronic documents, manuals, reports, citations, photos, fingerprints, and other data required for each case should be well organized so that it is available when the need arises.
Keep in mind that a paralegal is like an attorney’s right hand person. So, you must find ways to make the lawyer’s work as smooth as possible. This means paying attention to detail so you can catch things that other people overlook, multitasking, and prioritizing as the circumstances dictate.