Paralegal Training

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, work with lawyers to help fulfill a number of tasks. Paralegals are expected to assist lawyers in many significant legal duties, and are even responsible for doing some of the same work as lawyers. Paralegal training courses help students develop skills and knowledge required to efficiently perform the duties of the paralegal, and even offer elective courses, allowing students to gain training in specialized areas in order to compete in a job market that expects paralegals to perform an increasing number of tasks.

In recent years, U.S. law firms have undergone a significant level of expansion, resulting in much higher workloads being divided between a handful of lawyers. As a result, paralegals are becoming entrusted with an increasing number of duties that were once carried out only by lawyers.

Paralegal Training Programs

Despite the increased responsibilities of paralegals, the position is still limited by government regulations that prohibit paralegals from carrying out certain actions. For example, although they are responsible for many of the same duties as lawyers, paralegals are not permitted to perform any tasks which might be considered the practice of law. This includes dispensing legal advice, setting legal fees, and presenting cases in court. However, apart from these stipulations, the role of the paralegal continues to expand, requiring paralegal training to become increasingly specialized.

Paralegal training courses, such as distance learning programs conducted online or through mail-order correspondence, usually begin by introducing students to the general duties of the paralegals. After learning about legal terminology and the court system, students are taught how to conduct legal research and interviews, and how to compose effective legal documents. Students at this level also learn about legal ethics and professional responsibility. After students gain a foundation in these basics, they can go on to complete elective courses dedicated to specialized fields of study. With the increased role of paralegals in large law firms, specialized training is becoming a popular way to compete in the job market.

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