Lawyers have to be able to count on paralegals who are competent in practising their profession. More than subordinates, they can sometimes be considered as partners. What do lawyers expect from paralegals?
Spirit of collaboration
The paralegal is above all a versatile collaborator who has earned the trust of the lawyer with whom he or she works. To carry out their tasks well, they must be meticulous, curious, have discretion and attention to detail. They can be specialized — by experience or additional training — in certain fields, such as immigration, litigation, corporate services or securities.
Strong reading and writing skills
The paralegal must be able to store large quantities of information by reading voluminous documents, and summarily interpreting laws and jurisprudence. They also have strong writing skills used to write various documents for the lawyers: proceedings, draft contracts, wills, letters, affidavits, real estate transactions and much more. The lawyers will finalize these documents.
Research, analysis and synthesis skills
This legal professional conducts research on behalf of the lawyers to find arguments, information, other judgements and court settlements to further the lawyer’s work. They have to be able to examine records, court cases and other administrative and legal documents. The lawyer also expects the paralegal to be able to make summaries of interrogations and evidence by identifying the relevant elements for the cases. They therefore need to have up-to-date legal knowledge.
Organizing and managing meetings
They also have to meet witnesses, clients or anyone else. They are the ones who have to prepare the witnesses for court proceedings. The lawyer can also ask the paralegal to carry out the swearing procedure and collect information directly from clients or other interested parties. They must also ensure that all documentation is available for meetings between the lawyers and clients.
Tasks of the legal secretary
As part of their practice, lawyers can also ask paralegals to take on certain tasks known as “legal secretarial”: organizing information, monitoring court files, legal correspondence and other tasks and other tasks related to good performance of a legal firm.