What does a litigation paralegal do?
Litigation paralegals specialize in providing valuable assistance to help settle lawsuits. They perform a variety of tasks such as interviewing clients and witnesses, investigating facts and evidence, examining legal documents, maintaining reference files, and drafting necessary documents. They also perform legal and factual research, keep track of deadlines and court dates, and provide assistance before, during, and after trials. Litigation paralegals often meet with clients before lawyers to get the basic information. They usually serve as liaisons between the trial team and clients, witnesses, and courtroom personnel. Most litigation paralegals specialize in a specific type of law such as criminal or business litigation. Some are employed by community legal-service agencies to help people who need legal assistance.
What kind of training does a litigation paralegal need?
Litigation paralegals need at least a high school diploma and some formal paralegal training. Most litigation paralegals have an associate or bachelor degree in paralegal studies or other related field. Many community colleges, universities, and law schools offer paralegal programs. Some aspiring litigation paralegals complete training from an institution that is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) to remain competitive in the field. Many litigation paralegals complete internships at law firms specializing in litigation while pursuing their education. Some employers provide on the job training for new litigation paralegals to learn the necessary policies and procedures. Litigation paralegals usually complete continuing legal education to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a litigation paralegal?
Employment of litigation paralegals is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 28% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increase in litigation cases will drive job growth.
Litigation paralegals with advanced education and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace litigation paralegals that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do litigation paralegals make?
As of February 2010, the average annual salary for litigation paralegals is $45,000; average annual litigation paralegal salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a litigation paralegal is a great choice for people with a strong interest in litigation and providing assistance to lawyers on a variety of civil and criminal cases. Litigation paralegals must have a solid understanding of the concepts, rules, and regulations related to litigation. Patience, determination, analytical thinking, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Litigation paralegals must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to work with a variety of clients and other legal professionals. They must be able to effectively perform research and present their findings.