If you’re here, you might be wondering what a litigation paralegal is, or how to become one.
We’re here to answer that for you.
Opportunities for paralegals are growing rapidly, and one area that has been gaining more attention lately is litigation paralegals. However, there is limited information available on this topic.
In this guide, you will learn all the necessary information about litigation paralegals.
What is a Litigation Paralegal?
Litigation paralegals have a vital role in legal proceedings. They assist in investigations, gather evidence, and prepare legal documents for trials.
They work closely with attorneys on tasks such as depositions and witness preparation. A litigation paralegal is also responsible for conducting research and organizing case documents.
They work on a case until its conclusion and ensure that all relevant documents are properly closed.
More: What is a paralegal
If you want to become a Litigation Paralegal, you can pursue any of the following educational paths or certifications:
– Associate degree
– Bachelor’s degree (preferably)
– ABA-approved paralegal certification with a specialization in litigation.
Skills of a Litigation Paralegal
There are some in-demand paralegal skills for a Litigation Paralegal, let us take a close look at them:-
Litigation Paralegals should have strong problem-solving skills to be able to identify and resolve issues that arise during a case. They need to be proactive in finding solutions to problems without relying solely on the guidance of the attorneys they work with. Being able to provide valuable solutions can make a Litigation Paralegal a valuable asset to the legal team.
Ability to Work Well Under Pressure
Litigation Paralegals are required to work under high-pressure situations and meet tight deadlines. They need to have the ability to handle stress and manage their time effectively.
Prioritizing work is also a crucial skill for them, as some non-urgent tasks can become urgent at any moment. They must be able to handle such situations and know how to prioritize their tasks accordingly.
Technology skills are a must-have for Litigation Paralegals as the legal industry has undergone significant changes due to technological advancements.
Litigation Paralegals must be well-versed in e-discovery and trial technology which have become integral to litigation work. Organizational skills are no longer enough as technology has made tasks easier and faster.
Paralegals now use emails instead of letters, and evidence is no longer limited to paper-based documents but includes electronic devices. Strong technical skills can also lead to opportunities as an e-discovery paralegal, which involves handling e-discovery projects and software.
Strong communication skills are essential for litigation paralegals as they need to communicate effectively through both written and verbal means.
In addition to this, they are often responsible for drafting important legal documents, making it essential for them to have excellent writing skills as well.
Duties & Job Responsibilities of a Litigation Paralegal
Want to know more about what do paralegals do? Here are the top duties of a litigation paralegal-
Draft pleadings and discovery
A key responsibility of a litigation paralegal is drafting pleadings and discovery. Attorneys often rely on paralegals to create initial drafts and start the process of pleading.
In addition to drafting, paralegals are responsible for proofreading and ensuring that the documents are grammatically correct. It’s also crucial for paralegals to gather exhibits and affidavits that can be attached to the pleadings.
Prepare for depositions, mediations, and arbitrations
In addition, a Litigation Paralegal also assists in preparing the witnesses for depositions, mediations, and arbitrations. This involves scheduling appointments, conducting research, and preparing outlines or summaries of relevant information.
The paralegal may also attend these proceedings to provide support to the attorney and take notes.
Assist in trials
A Litigation Paralegal is responsible for assisting the attorney in every aspect during the trial phase. They are responsible for managing and updating the trial checklist and the trial notebook.
Additionally, they take care of tasks such as meeting with witnesses, making notes, gathering exhibits, and assisting with trial technology. This allows the attorney to focus on other important aspects of the case.
Litigation Paralegal Salary
It is reported that the salary for litigation paralegals is generally considered satisfactory and meets expectations. Depending on the level of experience, a litigation paralegal with 5-10 years of experience can expect an average salary of $45,964, while those with 11-20 years of experience can earn around $54,541.
For individuals with over two decades of experience, the average paralegal salary can reach up to $60,802.
How to Become a Litigation Paralegal
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a Paralegal–
Complete a Certification Program
It is possible to become a Litigation Paralegal by completing an online paralegal program. These programs typically take 4-5 months to complete, are affordable, and can be accessed easily online. But if you’re looking for a paralegal degree, you can consider the different accredited paralegal schools.
Get an Externship
Getting an externship in a renowned law firm or legal department can be a great way to gain practical experience and knowledge in the field of litigation.
It can also help you make important industry connections, learn about different work environments, and develop key skills that are essential for success in this profession. Many online certification programs also offer assistance in finding externship opportunities for their students.
Get Certified as a Paralegal
Getting certified as a paralegal can help you stand out in the job market and demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers. There are various national and state-level paralegal certification programs available; one such certification is the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certified Paralegal (CP) program. (Read More: Paralegal vs Legal Assistant & Paralegal vs Lawyer.
Apply to Work With Attorneys
Lastly, you can now start applying to work with attorneys or even apply to the same firms where you worked during your externship.
Here are a few Paralegal careers you can consider:
- Immigration Paralegal
- Real Estate Paralegal
- Nurse Paralegal
- Remote Paralegal
- Corporate Paralegal
- Criminal Law Paralegal
- Family Law Paralegal
- Divorce Paralegal
- Intellectual Property Paralegal
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