Litigation Paralegal Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a litigation paralegal. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a litigation paralegal.
Who is a Litigation Paralegal?
The responsibilities of a litigation paralegal vary considerably from one law firm to another. Some paralegals have a large amount of responsibility, while others are quite limited and deal with the secretarial type of tasks. In general, a litigation paralegal assists a lawyer in preparing court proceedings. He/she may organize and prepare documents, prepare witness testimony and work out the logistics of the testimony and the trial. They may also submit documents to the court and attend court to support the practicing lawyer.
Before the trial and during the trial, there are different stages at which the assistance of an experienced litigation paralegal may be required. When a law firm takes on a new case, a litigation paralegal can prepare the case and organize the documents. For example, he/she will ensure that files are organized chronologically, or in the order used by the firm’s lawyers. He/she may also coordinate the preparation of documents with other law firms. In many cases, before documents are filed, the paralegal will number each page of the document, edit or delete information, make copies, and index the documents.
Many law firms have sophisticated computer databases. A litigation paralegal may be responsible for developing and maintaining these databases. The paralegal may use the database to search for documents and make computer notes. Although the paralegal may be assisted by case management and technology assistants, the bulk of the responsibility for the databases may rest with the paralegal.
In some law firms, the paralegal works closely with witnesses and clients. He/she may arrange depositions, interviews, or meetings with lawyers. They may also create memos from notes the lawyer takes about a particular client or witness. If working under the supervision of a lawyer, she may gather and prepare relevant documents, prepare and organize exhibits, and ensure that exhibits are handled properly during testimonies.
Sometimes, the litigation paralegal is responsible for reading, proofreading, and editing memos, motions, and briefs. If a legal document cites or mentions case law, the paralegal may be asked to verify the source or citation. In many cases, if a motion, brief, or memorandum is accompanied by exhibits, the paralegal will organize them as well. If a form is used for the motion, the litigation paralegal may even complete the form and have the lawyer check it before submitting it to the court.
Some law firms require the paralegal to be familiar with the rules of court procedure. Therefore, they must be able to provide the lawyer with information about time limits and filing details.
In court proceedings, the paralegal is usually responsible for many details during the proceedings. For example, he/she may be responsible for recording the physical evidence for each side of the case. He/she may also be responsible for mundane tasks, such as bringing lunch or coffee to the lawyer during the trial.
Litigation Paralegal Job Description
Below are the litigation paralegal job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a litigation Paralegal include the following:
- Studying and analyzing sources of law such as statutes, registered judgments, legal articles, treaties, constitutions, and legal codes to prepare legal documents such as briefs, pleadings, appeals, etc. for use by lawyers.
- Drafting routine legal documents for review and use by lawyers.
- Drafting responses to investigative requests.
- Categorizing and interpreting data; reviewing and analyzing reports, responses, and notes prepared by opposing counsel.
- Coordinating requests between multiple parties involved in a dispute through constant communication with the client, claims, and full partnership with the lawyer until the end of the case.
- Conducting legal research at every stage of the case.
- Cooperating with federal and state police and private investigators to obtain additional evidence.
- Preparing clients for court appearances and other legal appointments.
- Booking accommodations for clients and legal team members as needed.
- Completing, filing, and maintaining all necessary legal documents under the supervision of the assigned lawyer.
- Creating and setting up visual presentations to convey evidence to the court.
- Performing related administrative functions as required by the Solicitor.
- Disposing of irrelevant and obsolete documentation in a secure manner.
A litigation paralegal generally requires the following qualifications:
Litigation paralegals are generally required to have at least an associate’s degree. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies.
Paralegals can earn a degree in paralegal studies at a two-year community college or a four-year university. These programs typically include courses in legal terminology, legal research, legal writing, ethics, law office management, and court procedures.
Training and experience
Litigation paralegals receive on-the-job training from their employers. This training may include supervising an acting paralegal or performing supervised tasks until they feel comfortable enough to perform the tasks themselves. Training may also include learning the specific software and computer programs used by the law firm.
Certification and Licensing
A paralegal is not required to hold any certifications for the position, but there are certifications available for the position that can help increase the likelihood of obtaining a better position in the industry.
- Case Management
Case management is the process by which a paralegal manages all aspects of a case. This includes case management, tracking deadlines, and communicating with clients. Case management requires attention to detail and the ability to multitask. It also requires knowledge of legal procedures and how they affect each stage of the case.
Discovery is the process by which parties in a dispute gather evidence to support their claims. Paralegals with strong discovery skills can help lawyers and investigators find the information needed to support their claims. This may involve examining documents, interviewing witnesses, or seeking additional information from outside sources.
Interviews are questions asked by one party to another in a court case. They can be used as evidence to get evidence to gather information about the other party’s views on an issue. As a paralegal, you can help to draft interrogatories and check the accuracy of answers. You can also prepare witnesses to give evidence by asking them similar questions during interviews.
Problem-solving is the ability to identify and resolve issues. As a litigation paralegal, you may have to solve problems that arise during court proceedings. You may also use problem-solving skills when dealing with clients with complex needs.
- Legal writing
Legal writing is the ability to create documents that are clear, concise, and accurate. Paralegals often use their legal writing skills to draft contracts, prepare affidavits or other court documents, and create correspondence with clients and colleagues. Legal writing also includes the ability to cite sources for research papers and other written materials.
As a litigation paralegal, you may be responsible for drafting motions and other legal documents. This requires knowledge of the correct format and language to use in these documents. You also need to understand how the courts interpret different motions and the impact they can have on a case. For example, if you are writing a motion asking a judge to dismiss a case, you need to know why this type of motion is necessary and how it affects the court’s decision-making process.
- Attention to detail
Litigation paralegals often work with large amounts of data, so they must be able to determine what information is relevant and how it relates to other information. This skill also helps paralegals to ensure that their records are accurate and complete.
- Trial preparation
Trial preparation is the process by which a paralegal prepares for trial. This includes preparing evidence, organizing files and documents, and creating exhibits and other materials needed in court. It also includes studying the laws and regulations that may be relevant to the case. Preparing for a trial can take several months or even years, depending on the complexity of the case.
A deposition is a process of recording the testimony of a witness. As a legal assistant in a trial, you may be responsible for taking notes during the deposition and preparing transcripts afterward. You also need to know how to conduct an effective deposition so that all the necessary information is recorded accurately. This can help your lawyer prepare the case more thoroughly and efficiently.
- Drafting pleadings
A litigation paralegal may be required to draft pleadings – legal documents that outline a party’s case. For example, if an employer sues an employee for breach of contract, the employee may respond with a pleading explaining why they believe they did not breach the contract An adversarial statement is usually written in formal language and includes references to legislation or other sources to support the employee’s claims.
- Legal research
Legal research is the ability to find and interpret legal documents. Paralegals often use this skill when searching for precedents, laws, or regulations that apply to a case. Legal research involves searching for information in databases, books, files, or other sources. It also involves understanding how to read and interpret legal language and documents.
Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Paralegals often work with teams of lawyers and other professionals, so flexibility can be an important skill for them.
- Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and find solutions. Litigation paralegals often use critical thinking when analyzing case information, reviewing legal precedents, and evaluating evidence. They also use this skill when creating files, organizing paperwork, and preparing documents for lawyers to review.
Communication is the ability to convey information clearly and understandably. Paralegals often communicate with clients, colleagues, and other parties involved in litigation. Effective communication can help ensure that everyone understands what they need to do and why. It also helps to build trust between you and your clients, which can be important when working on sensitive issues such as legal proceedings.
- Document management
Document management is the ability to organize and store files. Paralegals often work with a large volume of documents, so they must have good organizational skills. They may also be responsible for creating new documents or files if necessary.
How to Become a Litigation Paralegal
A person who wishes to become a litigation paralegal will usually receive formal paralegal training. Paralegal education programs can include associate, bachelor, and even master’s degree programs. Paralegals can also enroll in online programs.
A paralegal education should adequately prepare a graduate to work as a paralegal in the litigation field, although competition for jobs can be fierce. Choosing a paralegal program approved by a respected national organization such as the American Bar Association can give a person who wishes to become a litigation paralegal an advantage. It is also helpful to take courses in civil and criminal procedure, evidence, and appellate procedure.
Paralegal certification may also be recommended, although it is not usually required. Aspiring litigation paralegals can obtain certification by taking tests from various organizations such as the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) in the US or the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) in the UK. Choosing to take a test in civil litigation or criminal law and procedure can be a good way for a paralegal who has decided to specialize in litigation to gain valuable knowledge. Extended certification qualifications for paralegals in litigation may also be available.
A person who wishes to become a litigation paralegal must also be comfortable with technology. Litigators typically use some form of case management software to support litigation in the courtroom. Legal research is usually required to prepare cases for trial. Therefore, more and more legal research is being conducted online and through computerized research products.
When looking for a job, a litigation paralegal may want to consider the area of law in which the potential employer specializes in. He/she can also check with the potential employer to see if the firm regularly handles cases in court.
Where to Work as a Litigation Paralegal
Litigation paralegals work in law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. They also work closely with lawyers, assisting them at all stages of the legal process, from the first discussion with the client to the final trial.
Litigation Paralegal Salary Scale
The average annual salary of a Litigation Paralegal in the United States and Canada is $66,570 and $65,458 respectively. In the United Kingdom, the average annual salary of a Litigation Paralegal is £24,980.