Freelance paralegal - what is the role?
According to Wikipedia, the definition of a paralegal is a non-lawyer who assists lawyers in their legal work. In most countries it is the same, but in Canada they are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and therefore have an independent status.
In the USA, The Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals website has the common thread in the definitions and discussions about the professional status of Legal Assistants/Paralegal as:
Working as a freelancer is a great option for those looking for online freelance work or legitimate work at home jobs.
There are many companies that outsource legal research to save time and keep budgets under control. In addition, many small firms can't afford a full time legal research staff, so they choose instead to hire freelancers to provide paralegal services.
How can you be sure that this is the right career for you? You may already have a background in legal services. Perhaps you have been employed to provide these services in the past.
The good news is that you can do the same job working from home and setting your own hours - that's a great way to get real job satisfaction.
The most important qualification is to be familiar with the legal system of your state or the states where you plan to offer services.
You might have a specialty in terms of the type of firm you work with, as the cases handled by big corporate lawyers will be different from those handled by small, local law firms.
To get the most from this career, you will need to provide a range of services, including carrying out legal research for court filings and depositions to make it easier for the lawyers you are helping to have compliant legal pleadings and briefs.
In many cases you will serve as a virtual assistant, taking care not only of legal research, but of report preparation, maintaining a lawyer's calendar and handling email and phone calls.
The role can be as wide as you want it to be. Some lawyers even ask their paralegal to run their blog, manage social media accounts, provide email marketing services and do some ghost writing when they have to submit articles to industry publications.
If you can do all this, then you will make an excellent freelance paralegal and law firms will fall over themselves to hire you.
As with most online freelance work, it's a must to have your own computer and reliable internet connection to give the best possible paralegal service to your clients.
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