Curt Surls, Employment Attorney, publishes article series on Paralegal Work
California-based Curt Surls, Esq. reviews the work relationship Lawyers-Paralegals in four separate articles.
By: The Law Office of Curt Surls, California
The occupation of the Paralegal (or Legal Assistant) has evolved into a critical component to the make-up 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 due to the fact that the number of attorneys has increased significantly, and at the same time the rise of personal computers and the Internet has changed 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.
This four-part article 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 trends is the client.
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.
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).
About Curt Surls
Curtis Surls is an attorney in the areas of Employment Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Wrongful Termination. Located in Manhattan Beach, California, the Law Office of Curt Surls offers a complete range of employment law services to those living throughout Southern California, including all of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties. With nearly 30 years of experience focusing almost exclusively on this area of law, attorney Curt Surls and his law firm provide the personalized assistance and effective support his clients need.
Attorney Profile: https://solomonlawguild.com/
The Law Office of Curt Surls, California
Manhattan Beach, California