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Paralegal Blog

5 Things All Attorneys Expect from Paralegals

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Nov 20, 2013 12:05:00 PM

When I became a paralegal in 1984, it was very common for paralegals to sit at their desks all day with their headphones on and type a variety of documents such as motions, pleadings, and correspondence, dictated by an attorney via the Dictaphone.  The role of the paralegal has since evolved from secretarial typists or transcribers to highly qualified staff members who perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents. 

Since the paralegal profession has evolved to include more substantive legal work, those wishing to become a paralegal usually seek formal training to gain the legal knowledge necessary to work alongside an attorney.  But in order to really excel in the paralegal profession, there are several characteristics and skills that are important to possess and develop in addition to legal knowledge.   After working as a paralegal, I went to law school and became an attorney and employer of paralegals, so I’ve seen first-hand the characteristics and skills that make a paralegal exceptional.  Here are 5 things that every attorney expects from his or her paralegal:

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Topics: career, education and training, paralegal skills

6 Things Every Paralegal Needs to Know about Trial Notebooks

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Nov 13, 2013 11:03:00 AM

By James I. Wiedemer, Attorney at Law and Center for Advanced Legal Studies’ Real Estate Law Professor     

I really don't want to go to trial without a litigation paralegal.  It's just too hard to stay organized and fight hard without one.  One of the key things a litigation paralegal does is "man" the trial notebook.  It's sort of like manning the main gun on a tank.  It's a key weapon at trial.  I’d like to share a couple of thoughts on good trial paralegals and good trial notebooks— the two, in my book, are virtually synonymous.

Winston Churchill once said of one of his key staffers:  "He knew everything.  He could lay his hand on anything.  He said nothing.  He had the confidence of all."  Paralegals need to be a lot like Winston Churchill's staffer.  Although they don't get to testify or present at trial in a verbal sense, nevertheless they are key fighters in the case.  They know everything, and they can lay their hand on any paper.  Here are 6 tips every paralegal needs to know about the trial notebook.

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Topics: career, education and training, paralegal skills

4 Steps to Better Organization for Paralegals

Posted by Elaine Prappas

Oct 2, 2013 9:13:00 AM

As an Admissions Advisor at Center for Advanced Legal Studies and a retired attorney, I always ask prospective students what qualities or attributes they possess that would make them a good paralegal.  Many times I hear:

“I love the law, which I think will make me a good paralegal.”
“I enjoy legal research.”
“I enjoy reading.”

“I am punctual.”

And of course:  “I am fairly organized.”

A love of the law, reading, punctuality, and research skills all contribute to a person’s ability to become a successful paralegal.  Above those, organization is key to excelling both as a paralegal student and as a working paralegal.

Organization skills are vital to be an effective paralegal.  They facilitate a paralegal’s ability to create and manage calendar systems, track court dates, and meet filing deadlines.  Additionally, legal research materials, such as case law, must be organized in a method that they can be easily navigated and retrieved.  Documents in a legal case are useless unless they are properly filed and indexed so that the documents may be pulled quickly and easily. 

But how does one become organized?  Whether you are already a fairly organized person or lacking in that department, organizational skills can always be developed and improved.  Here are 4 simple steps to becoming more organized, and ultimately becoming a more efficient paralegal!

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Topics: career, education and training, paralegal skills

The Top 4 Skills of a Successful Paralegal

Posted by Katie Fridsma

Aug 14, 2013 1:00:00 PM

Thanks to its recognition as a highly-skilled and hugely helpful profession, the paralegal career is gaining in popularity and becoming more in-demand.  A significant number of people are setting their sights on becoming paralegals because the job is rewarding and the career outlook is sunny.  Many people desire a legal career without the time and cost of law school.  Others desire to use a paralegal career as a helpful stepping-stone to becoming an attorney.

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Topics: paralegal certificate, paralegal degree, technology, career, online classes, education and training, paralegal skills

Four Major Roles of the Litigation Paralegal

Posted by Gail Armatys

May 2, 2013 3:05:00 PM

Litigation paralegal assisting attorney
Lawyers often hug the limelight in the courtroom. All eyes seem to fall on the attorney offering arguments, presenting evidence, and questioning witnesses. Despite being the focus in every trial, lawyers cannot be as effective as they need to be without paralegals to support them. 

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Topics: paralegal skills

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