Paralegal skills and qualifications
To fulfill their duties, Paralegals must possess several important skills. Some of the most important skills every Paralegal should have include:
- Organizational skills to maintain hundreds of files and exhibits for multiple cases at the same time
- Communication skills for relaying information to Lawyers, and when interviewing clients and witnesses
- Research skills when looking into case law and evidence
- Ability to work under pressure and within strict deadlines
What does a Paralegal do?
Paralegals serve as assistants to Lawyers to help ensure their Attorney duties are carried out efficiently and effectively. Paralegals are part of the support structure that helps manage the mountain of work that goes into most legal cases. This support comes in many different forms, as a Paralegal may be asked to do research into legal precedents for a case or draft legal documents like depositions for others. Put simply, Paralegals do anything they can to help Lawyers win their cases within the confines of the law without needing to be a licensed Attorney.
Paralegal experience requirements
Although it is an asset for candidates to have specific Paralegal experience, with the proper education and motivation, candidates can learn necessary skills on the job. Employers often find success with candidates that have experience working in a related job such as a File Clerk or Legal Secretary.
Paralegal education and training requirements
A Paralegal will generally have an associate’s degree at minimum. However, some positions may require a bachelor’s degree in paralegal or legal studies, as these programs involve information and training that prospective candidates won’t get otherwise. Additionally, a Paralegal can get officially certified and licensed in Canada to increase their ability to operate independently, but a Paralegal will not have the same free rein as a licensed Attorney would. For the vast majority of paralegal positions, candidates don’t have to have any kind of official licence at all. Licensure is only really a requirement for paralegals operating independently. For positions in which a paralegal is helping an attorney at a firm, they aren’t typically required.
Paralegal salary expectations
According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Paralegal is $52,384 per year. However, the actual salary for any Paralegal position can vary based on a candidate’s experience, the location of the position, and the company in question.
Job description samples for similar positions
If a Paralegal job description doesn’t quite fit the needs of the open position, similar roles may include: