Why Should You Hire A Paralegal?
Lawyers often hesitate to take on a paralegal because they are unsure of a paralegal’s abilities and qualifications, or are simply reluctant to invest time into training someone who they believe will leave when given a better offer.
The truth is that paralegals can make an invaluable contribution to a legal practice of any size.
Consider our list of the top reasons to hire a paralegal today.
Allow Lawyers To Focus On Value-Adding Work
Too often associates and partners at a firm can become caught up completing time consuming administrative tasks that cannot be billed to a client, such as scanning and printing documents, completing legal research or drafting correspondence.
These are tasks that paralegals are specifically trained in and can be relied on to complete in an efficient fashion.
Improve The Efficiency Of Your Team
Hiring a paralegal will give the lawyers on your team the space to focus on more complex legal issues and meeting with clients.
If your team members are overworked and not able to focus on the real issues of a matter, or on bringing in new clients, it would be a smart idea to hire a paralegal and delegate some of the less complex and more time-consuming tasks to them.
Because Paralegals Are Qualified
Not all paralegals are law students looking for a part-time summer job. Most choose to pursue a paralegal job as a career, and they are subject to rigorous accreditation procedures.
Course materials at most training programs are reviewed by legal professionals and designed to produce graduates with knowledge of the legal system in general and a field of law in particular (e.g corporate law, banking and finance, IP).
Paralegals Can Be Billed Out To The Client At A Lower Cost
Keep your clients happy by delegating administrative and research tasks to a paralegal and charging them out to the client separately, and at a lower cost.
For many clients, this is the mark of an efficient and well-run law firm that prioritizes the interests of its clients.
Paralegals Are A Budget-Friendly Choice
The services of a paralegal costs significantly less per hour than the services of a lawyer.
Spending $50 or more per hour to have a fully qualified lawyer complete filing tasks or legal research is both inefficient and poor management when the same tasks could be completed by a paralegal for approximately $30 per hour.
Paralegals Are Qualified To Do Administrative Work And Substantive Legal Work
Paralegals can do more than operate the printer and make coffee. Paralegal training programs teach paralegals how to conduct legal research and draft legal and business documents. They are also educated in the substantive law, filing procedures and how to interview clients.
Paralegals can also provide assistance in powers of attorney, filing for bankruptcy, probate filings and estate planning.
Paralegals Have Specialized Knowledge In An Area Of Law
Most paralegal training programs require that the student elect to specialize in a particular area of law. Consequently, lawyers need not worry that bringing on a paralegal will require extra training and initiation procedures before they can be of value.
Often the paralegal will have a detailed knowledge of legal procedures, motion practice and the substantive law in their area of specialization, and can provide advice on how to file forms or record documents.
Paralegals Have Professional And Ethical Standards
The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) is the leading paralegal association in the US, and it administers the Certified Paralegal examination.
NALA members and Certified Paralegals are bound by the NALA Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, which further requires paralegals to adhere to the bar associations? codes of professional responsibility and rules of conduct.
Paralegals Can Be Flexible
If hiring a full-time paralegal is not something you or your firm is willing to commit to, consider bringing in the services of a freelance paralegal. Freelance paralegals operate in a very competitive environment and are often able to offer excellent hourly rates or experience in a certain field of law.
This is perfect for when knowledge of a certain procedure is needed for a specific matter, or when an extra pair of hands is needed to take on some of the workload during a busy period.
Paralegals Are Effective Legal Researchers
Paralegals are trained in conducting legal research both online and in print. They can help lawyers to find precedents that will be useful in a matter, as well conduct broader research across statutes, case law and commentary on a particular topic.
Paralegals in criminal law are able to research police records, while those in real estate can conduct title searches.
Paralegals Can Conduct Law Office Administration
Many law firms will simply hire a paralegal to maintain the office and assist lawyers with legal research and administrative tasks when necessary.
Paralegals can be given responsibility for filing, maintaining the calendar of their attorney, contacting clients and taking calls, handling travel and organizing events, and scheduling interviews with witnesses, clients and experts.
Paralegals can do so much more than simply fetch your daily coffee.
Hiring a paralegal is the economical, intelligent way to improve productivity at your practice and allow your team to focus completing substantive legal work and prioritizing the needs of your clients.
Please include attribution to JPL Process Service with this graphic.