What Are Legal Assistants?
A legal assistant/paralegal is a highly trained professional, who is granted certification from government or state agencies upon completion of criminal studies/paralegal studies. Legal assistants generally perform a number of tasks, but they are majorly required to assist legal representatives or lawyers.
Paralegals are not allowed to act as representatives in court, give legal advices or sign any official and legal documents. There is just one exception in the case of signing documents. Paralegals are only allowed to sign documents if they have been authorized to do so by the notary they are assisting or if they are certified to do so. In order to become a paralegal, people generally have to complete a two or four-year degree in criminal justice or law enforcement. Alternatively, they can take up paralegal courses separately.
A legal assistant can be hired in law firms. There are several other things that are required of legal assistants. They must know how to draft legal documents and contracts. The documents are then reviewed by the legal representatives or lawyers to ensure that they conform to the requirements of the law and the client. Additionally, they must be capable of performing secretarial work, write and carry out legal research. Paralegals perform research in prosecution or defense of an individual. The research they carryout must be capable of supporting arguments during legal briefs or court proceedings.
Legal assistants are allowed to execute preliminary interviews of the clients. When needed, they can also interview the witnesses as well. Other than law firms, legal assistants are generally also employed by real estate organizations (either private or government). At times, they can be required to be present during real estate sale closings. There are several branches of law education. A legal assistant can choose to specialize in a particular field.
Sometimes, people prefer specializing in more than one field in order to enhance their qualifications. There are several other paralegal courses that can be taken along with the degree courses or after graduating from a degree program. For example, if someone graduates from a four year degree course, he/she can still go ahead to complete more courses to enhance the current qualification. There are times when people complete only their bachelor degrees and later decide to take up more courses to forward their studies. If you are one of those people and are looking for a way to take up more paralegal courses, be sure to research several degree and university options before enrolling for a course.
If you’re a working paralegal and are looking for a way to forward your education, you can consider going for further education programs like masters degrees. There is good news for those that work on tight schedules and are unable to find the time to attend lectures or classes after work hours. There are now several universities that offer online criminal justice programs.
There are several informative online platforms, which can help you find detailed information about the various universities and online programs available. You can visit websites like My Criminal Justice Degree to get more information on how to become a legal assistant.