The economic pressure is on to transfer more and more legal work assignments to Paralegals to keep a law firm competitive, explains William Blanchard, Esq.
William B. Blanchard, Attorney at Law (N/A:N/A)
ST. CHARLES, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, December 11, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — As William B. Blanchard explains in his new article series, Paralegals are gradually taking on more and more tasks that in the past were handled exclusively by Attorneys. The beneficiaries of this evolution are primarily the clients because of lower costs and easier access to information. The complete articles will be published on the blog of Mr. Blanchard at https://williamblanchardblog.blogspot.com/
The Paralegal (or Legal Assistant) has evolved into a critical component of the modern law office. Today, most law firms and businesses with legal departments could not function without them. In fact, it seems that Paralegals already handle most of the day-to-day routine legal support, including gathering information from clients. However, there have been some dramatic changes since the 1990s in the way Attorneys and Paralegals work. In fact, the economic pressure is on to transfer more and more legal work assignments to Paralegal to keep a law firm or other business competitive.
In his new four-part article, William Blanchard reviews how Paralegals are used in a law office or business setting today, how work assignments are divided up between Attorneys and Paralegals, and what ethical requirements apply. In adapting to today’s economic reality, the likely beneficiary of the emerging trend is the client because of reduced
The general job description for Paralegals may seem rather mundane: “Assist lawyers by investigating facts, preparing legal documents, or researching legal precedent. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.” (see O*NET, below). In fact, as discussed below, it is a hands-on job of increasing importance as law firms and businesses are under pressure to reduce costs in a competitive economy.
Paralegal work now requires extensive use of Technology Skills, such as:
* Analytical or scientific software — Office software; LexisNexis, CourtLink; Strategic Profiles; Uniscribe; Wilson's
Computer Applications; RealEasy Appraisals
* Database user interface and query software — Data entry software; Microsoft Access; Relativity e-Discovery; TrialWorks
* Desktop publishing software — Digital contract software; Microsoft Publisher; ProForce; Paralegal Pro-Pack; Sure Will Writer
* Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat; CaseSoft DepPrep; PDF; Snake Easy Bates; Summation Blaze
* Information retrieval or search software — American LegalNet USCourtForms; LexisNexis; Thomson West FindLaw; Westlaw Real Property Deed
The detailed Work Activities, however, have remained largely the same and involve:
* Maintain the order of legal documents.
* Prepare legal documents.
* Research relevant legal materials to aid decision making.
* Confer with court staff to clarify information.
* Meet with individuals involved in legal processes to provide information and clarify issues.
The reality today is that a large part of client interactions is handled by Paralegals, such as gathering necessary information, drafting forms, applications and pleadings, and providing answers to questions about the contents of the client file and missing documents. Thus, Paralegal work is not quite as mundane as it appears from the O*NET description. In fact, most of the colorful day-to-day client interactions are presumably handled by Paralegals (subject to ethical rules as discussed below).
One thing has continued unchanged; Paralegals provide essential support to Attorneys, as well as assist in the production and delivery of legal services to the modern client. This “go between client and attorney” career began to develop in the late 1960's when law firms and individual law practitioners sought ways to not only to improve efficiency, but also to reduce costs and expenses – expenses that could be passed along to the client over the course of legal representation. Still, the beneficiary has been the Client because such support work is billed at a much lower rate, and Paralegals tend to be much more accessible than Attorneys with their hectic, deadline-driven schedule. Thus, there is a benefit to both the law firm and the client – Paralegals are able and qualified to perform many services that reduce Attorney time spent on a particular legal matter, thus again resulting in a lower cost to the client. The use of Paralegal services also greatly improves case efficiency and accuracy as the Attorney is now free to spend more time on the more vital aspects of the client’s case. In many cases, work is prepared or drafted by a Paralegal and then reviewed and finalized by an Attorney. This process in many instances provides “a second set of eyes” to check the work product. However, there are ethical restrictions so that the Paralegal does not dispense legal advice and acts like an attorney, even though the boundaries are becoming blurry, explains Mr. Blanchard.
The complete articles will be published on the blog of Mr. Blanchard at https://williamblanchardblog.blogspot.com
About William B. Blanchard
William Blanchard (“Bill Blanchard”) is a real estate attorney with offices in Illinois, in St. Charles and Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Bill specializes in representing real estate clients for purchases and sales as well as home owner real estate tax assessment appeals.
Law Firm Website: https://WilliamBlanchardLaw.com
Listing in Attorney Directory: https://www.lawyer.com/william-byron-blanchard.html
Attorney Directory: https://solomonlawguild.com/william-b-blanchard%2C-esq
Paralegals and Legal Assistants Job Description
Source: EIN Presswire