What are the essential paralegal skills?
Paralegals are qualified persons having gone through proper education, formal training, work experiences and are employed by lawyers or any legal department, or by a company that utilizes legal works. “Paralegal Experience” indicates the performance of substantive legal work of a paralegal.
If a lawyer maintains responsibility for a paralegal’s work product and adequately supervises the paralegal’s performance, a wide range of tasks may properly be delegated by a lawyer to a paralegal. So it is important that paralegals possess the required paralegal skills to perform the tasks needed by lawyers. And although there are tasks that lawyers can do and paralegals can’t, it is still important that paralegals in any field should have the essential paralegal skills before they be hired as paralegals.
Interviewing skills. – One of the essential paralegal skills is the interviewing skills, because most often than not, paralegals are assigned to do interviews on clients, witnesses and others who are seeking the legal services of a lawyer. However, paralegals, could not give advice nor set legal fees.
Researching skills. – A paralegal must know how to conduct researches because he may be tasked to conduct statutory case law and other legal research, which will be reviewed by the lawyers.
Writing skills. – The writing skill is an important skill, for a paralegal is often assigned to draft legal documents subject to review by lawyers.
Moreover, a paralegal should be able to draw and draft simple wills in the following restricted circumstances: where the assets are limited to a matrimonial home, bank accounts, insurance policies and savings bonds and where the distribution under the will is limited to situations where the sole beneficiary is to be the spouse, and if the spouse predeceases the testator or there is no spouse, and the assets are to be divided equally among the children per stripe.
Paralegals should also be able to draw and have executed power of attorneys and living wills.
Communication skills. – This paralegal skill is the one that is being used every day. From dealing with lawyers to clients it is important for paralegals that they know how to communicate well. Furthermore, the communication paralegal skill is needed in real estate closings.
The skills mentioned above are essential paralegal skills a paralegal must possess. There are still a lot more paralegal skills, a paralegal must hone, if he would like to succeed in his chosen path.