Legal Assistants

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Legal Assistants

Legal Assistants - Overview

Paralegals research and investigate facts for lawyers.

Paralegals help lawyers manage their caseloads. They are often called legal assistants. They do almost everything that lawyers do, except give legal advice or present cases in court. They help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings.

Paralegals research and analyze legal data to find support for cases. They find previous court rulings. They check facts of cases and make sure there are no holes in the arguments they build.

Paralegals prepare and organize the information they collect. They write rough summaries and arguments for lawyers to review. They prepare legal documents such as briefs and pleadings. They file pleadings with court clerks. They may send requests to witnesses so they will testify at hearings.

Paralegals may have other duties depending on the law firm. They may determine value and inventory property for estate planning, or manage real estate sales. They may answer questions about legal issues at civil hearings.

Paralegals work for:

  • Law firms
  • Legal departments of large companies
  • Government agencies

Paralegals in smaller firms may work in all aspects of the work being done at that practice. Paralegals at large firms and corporations tend to focus on one area. Examples include personal injury, employee benefits, or criminal law.

Paralegals in larger offices may supervise other staff. They may update the law library and suggest new books or software.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.