Attorneys need a lot of help when preparing cases and resolving a variety of people’s needs. There is a lot of research, organizing, and behind-the-scenes activities that go into the work we do. We wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of paralegals. But a lot of people wonder, what exactly is a paralegal?
What is a paralegal?
The American Bar Association 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.”
In general, paralegals are responsible for organizing, evaluating, analyzing, and communicating legal concepts. All of these tasks are done under the direct supervision of attorneys. If you are thinking about becoming a paralegal, make sure you check your state regulations.
How to Become a Paralegal in NC
The North Carolina State Bar created the Plan for Paralegal Certification in order to help sustain the industry of paralegals in North Carolina through certifications. The certification process includes meeting certain educational standards and passing exams made by the NCSB. After being certified, they will receive one of the following titles:
Educational requirements include an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in paralegal studies. Other law school degrees qualify such as a juris doctorate degree. The certification process can’t begin without the educational background.
It is legal to work in North Carolina as a paralegal without having the certification, but the certification is highly recommended. Many paralegals find that having a certification helps them be competitive while searching for a job.
What does a paralegal do?
The daily work of a paralegal can vary depending on the attorney’s office of which they are employed. The majority of paralegals spend most of their time doing the following:
The daily routine of paralegals is not limited to this list. Attorneys may hire paralegals to do much more including locating witnesses, assistance in trials, and case management.
What we do wouldn’t be possible without the help of paralegals, and we thank our team for their hard work!
Oliver and Sherrie M. – Car Accident
“We were hit head-on by someone who run a red light. I got bruised up real bad inside and I had just had shoulder surgery and it inflamed that. My wife was hurt the worst. It disfigured her right arm. We were referred to Mr. West through our son-in-law so we went up and set an appointment with him. We went in and met him for the first time and he is a very nice gentleman to say the least. He took over the case and found out who the [driver] was. It had totaled the car and I had just gotten it paid off. They didn’t even get hurt. Mr. West took the case and went way out of his way to help. The lady who hit us … they had only the cheapest insurance to get the car on the road … so he helped us get more money to help us pay the bills. We are very happy with how it turned out. Kelly and West, they’re good people. You can talk to them and they’re down home people.”