What is a paralegal? Why should you care? Interesting question. Intriguing answer.
“Googling” may point you here:
The American Bar Association (ABA) defines a paralegal as:
A person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.
The definition doesn’t sound important or glamorous. Honestly, it sounds boring. Either way, lawyers who partner with paralegals, clients who reap the benefits, and paralegals who are recognized as valuable team members know the truth.
In case you don’t…
Remember “The Wizard of Oz?” Dorothy and Toto navigate the harrowing Land of Oz in their quest to go home; banking on the hope that “The Wizard” can make it happen. Dorothy finally gains an audience with the “Great and Powerful Oz” only to uncover the mighty Wizard is just an ordinary man working “magic” behind a curtain. Ironically, in spite of his ordinary appearance and limited magical ability, he is the catalyst for Dorothy and Toto’s return home.
Paralegals are “mighty wizards behind the curtain” working “magic” through education, training, skill and ability to bring a case “home.” Paralegals that hold the distinction of being N.C. Certified must meet high standards for education and experience and must satisfy annual continuing education requirements. In the office environment, paralegals handle day-to-day case progression from inception through resolution. Paralegals confirm the team is on task, responsive, meeting deadlines, and prepared for any situation be it conferences with opposing counsel or ready for battle in the courtroom. They are experts in triage, prioritization, technology and communication. Their “behind the curtain” work is fundamental to the success of the team.
Best part of all…paralegal rates are substantially less than the attorneys. Experienced paralegals promote attorney focus on complex legal work while clients benefit from substantial cost savings and increased efficiency. Does your legal team include skilled paralegals? If not, you might miss out on the “magic.”