Paralegal Duties During Trial

The paralegal is an invaluable aid to an attorney, especially in the litigation process. The litigation process demands much from the paralegal. Paralegals coordinates thousands of details before, during, and after the trial. This is why it is essential for paralegals to be thoroughly familiar with the process of civil litigation and their paralegal duties during trial. 


Paralegal Duties at Trial


Investigation
Litigation Paralegals typically take the lead during pre-claim investigation. They are responsible for locating and interviewing witnesses, taking statements from witnesses, gathering evidence, creating case investigation folders, and preparing a chronology of facts for the case.
Pleadings
The role of a Litigation Paralegal varies depending on whether he or she is working for the plaintiff or the defense. Litigation Paralegals on the plaintiff side may assist with preparing pleadings including the summons, complaint, and supporting affidavits. Paralegals on the defense side work with clients to investigate allegations and prepare responses.
Discovery
A majority of the Litigation Paralegal’s time is spent during the discovery process of a case. Litigation Paralegals assist attorneys in preparing interrogatories and requests for other discovery. Paralegals on the defense side are responsible for locating people within the client organization to help develop responses to interrogatories. The Litigation Paralegal is also responsible for conducting factual research and gathering relevant information from a variety of resources, including libraries, newspapers, police and fire departments, and the media.
Pre-Trial
Litigation Paralegals play an extremely important role during the pre-trial process. This is where the Paralegal’s communication and organization skills are the most valuable. The Litigation Paralegal is responsible for organizing and indexing exhibits, preparing trial binders, and managing important files. Litigation Paralegals also serve as a liaison between the trial team and third parties, including clients, witnesses, vendors, experts and courtroom personnel.
Trial
During trial, Paralegals are responsible for setting up exhibits in the courtroom, preparing and issuing subpoenas, assisting in preparing witnesses, and researching and evaluating prospective jurors. The Litigation Paralegal also continues to serve as a liaison between clients, witnesses, experts, vendors, and the trial team during the trial.
Settlement
Litigation Paralegals often assist attorneys with case settlement after the trial. Their role includes gathering and organizing data needed for settlement, creating settlement brochures, distribution statements, and negotiation checklists.
Appeal
Litigation Paralegals help identify issues for appeal by gathering and organizing documents for a record on appeal, indexing cases for a table of authorities, assisting in the research and drafting of appellate documents, and filing documents with the court.

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