Just like any other profession, being a paralegal requires one to have certain qualifications. A paralegal is someone who has training on subsidiary legal matters but doesn’t fully qualify to be a lawyer. The work of paralegals is to help lawyers and judges make judicial decisions. They carry out research on different aspects of the law and share it with lawyers.
The main duties of a paralegal include conducting research, preparing legal documents, giving quotes to clients, interviewing witnesses and clients, providing legal information to clients, attending court sessions, among others.
Below are the qualifications needed to become a paralegal:
Good communication is one of the most important qualifications in law practice. This is considering the fact that most of the daily tasks of a paralegal involve interacting with clients and other legal professionals. It could either be interviewing clients, doing research, scheduling court discussion, or supervising an attorney.
As mentioned earlier, paralegals work hand in hand with lawyers. This means that they are in constant communication with vendors, opposing counsel, experts, and other parties involved in the litigation process. As such, your communication skills should be above standard in order to excel in your work.
Research is also an important skill or qualification for anyone who is aspiring to be a paralegal. Other than the conventional legal research methods, a paralegal must also be well-equipped in online research and legal databases like Lexis and Westlaw.
As a paralegal, you must also learn how to analyze case facts and cite legal authority correctly. Strong investigative skills in transactional, criminal, and civil contexts are also important when it comes to tracking down documents, medical records, and witnesses.
A big part of the law practice involves writing, from writing correspondences, discovery, pleadings, briefs, legal memorandums, motions, and other documents. That’s why paralegals should be people with top-notch writing skills.
Transactional paralegals are supposed to write agreements, contracts, resolutions, and other related documents. It is evident that anyone who wants to succeed as a paralegal must master the rat or writing. This entails clear, brief, and persuasive written communication.
4. Technology skills
The world today is largely controlled by technology. Although this qualification was not necessary for the past few decades, it is now one of the most sought-after skills in the paralegal profession.
As an aspiring paralegal, you should try as much as possible to be technology-conscious. This includes familiarizing yourself with soft skills such as spreadsheet, word processing, PowerPoint presentation, telecommunications, and database.
Lawyers largely depend on paralegals to bring order to their work. Most of them are always busy on the field collecting evidence and working with investigators. Besides, document-intensive cases and corporate transactions often lead to a lot of data and documentation.
As such, being able to properly sort, index, order, categorize and organize this information is a vital skill for any paralegal.
In general, there are a number of paralegal qualifications that one needs in order to have a successful career. Skills such as communication, effective writing, and research are essential for anyone aspiring to be a paralegal. You can master all these skills, strengthen your professional base and gain a better stand in the paralegal space with proper education and training with paralegal programs featured in trusted sites such as ParalegalEDU.org and others.