Paralegals and Legal Assistants Add Value to Law Offices

photo to represent legal assistants and paralegals

Law Office Heroes

Much like the hero frontline workers we are most familiar with, paralegals and legal assistants in a law office are our heroes. These amazing workers carry out the magic of a successful law office. Paralegals and legal assistants implement strategies given to them by attorneys. Any successful attorney will recognize they cannot perform excellent legal services without the support of competent legal staff.

Additional to legal competence, legal staff are familiar with legal procedures, office procedures and the idiosyncrasies of their attorney. They also care for the client’s needs and commit to the client’s goals. At our office, our staff exemplifies characteristics of caring, competence and commitment.  Because our firm operates as a team culture, our staff work to aid and support each other, regardless of position or other responsibilities.

Education

Getting a formal education in legal studies or paralegal work is not necessary. But it is strongly considered during employment decisions and salary offers. The advantage of a formal education is vast as it requires students to take courses in most areas of law. This familiarizes the paralegal or legal assistant with procedure, law and understanding of legal concepts and terminology.  

When courses are taught by practicing attorneys, the practical components of the lessons are conveyed by way of actual scenarios. This brings the reality of practicing law to the academic setting. So, I believe there is value in formal legal education.

But I can tell you from experience that teaching the right person how to perform certain responsibilities is invaluable. Many successful paralegals and legal assistants start at a law firm as a receptionist or administrative assistant. I truly believe that it is better to hire the “person” than the “resume”. 

First Line Representatives

Paralegals and legal assistants are the first line representatives of the firm. Often, they interact with the clients before the attorney and with more frequency. Therefore, a skilled paralegal can answer the client’s questions regarding their case and what they can expect going forward. Although they can’t provide legal advice, they can certainly draw from experience with other cases during their discussions with clients.

Attorneys rely on competent paralegals and legal assistants to move cases forward. Many attorneys implement a case strategy and collaborate with their legal staff to make sure it is executed as designed. Paralegals and legal assistants then calendar events, gather documentation and consistently interact with their attorney. The goal is to ensure attorneys are on the right track and that their efforts are meaningful to the case. Often, legal staff enhance the legal services offered to the clients when they learn something by their own research.

I’ve seen over the past 25 years how valuable dedicated legal staff can be to our law firm. So, I always seek to hire the best candidates for our open positions. If you would like to begin or continue your legal career with a law firm that genuinely embraces competence and creativity, please inquire at our firm.

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Written by Michael Brehne

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