The Paralegal: A Benefit to the Firm and the Client

Paralegals have been assisting attorneys for quite some time now, however, in recent years', this field has expanded and continued to grow. Paralegals have become a necessary and welcome addition to most law firms in the United States. Understanding what a paralegal can do for a firm is the key to providing better services to the client.

Economically, having a paralegal on staff makes good sense. Paralegals bill much less per hour to the client than the attorney will, so certain tasks for the client should be assigned to the paralegal. This way, the client pays less for services, and the attorney has more time to focus on the strategy of the case.
Paralegals often act as the contact person for the client. Quite often, clients are frustrated, worried, or even angry. These worries can be eased when the client knows there is someone at the firm they can speak to at any time who is familiar with their case, and will not bill them an arm and a leg for phone time.
Paralegals can provide many other services for the client and the firm. Paralegals can interview the client at in take, create new case files, interview witnesses and send out requests for documents. They can also prepare and file court pleadings, track evidence and perform research. All of this becomes a benefit to the client, as paralegals typically bill about half what the attorney will.
Paralegals quite often keep up technologically as well. There are many firms where the only person who knows how to work inside an electronic courtroom is the paralegal. Many courtrooms are using advancements such as Wi Fi, electronic documents, high tech evidence display and electronic case summations. The paralegal who keeps up to date with the changing technology becomes another benefit to the firm and the client.
A paralegal, however, cannot give legal advice, not for any reason. They also cannot advocate in court for anyone, or engage in any unauthorized practice of law. As an example, the paralegal can draft all the court documents and prepare all the exhibits for a hearing, but cannot represent the client at the hearing.
Most firms that have paralegals report higher satisfaction rates with their clients. A paralegal is an integral part of a well run law firm, law department or courthouse. Hiring a paralegal provides added benefits to the clients, as well as the attorney, and can provide for a well run case.

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