The National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) defines a paralegal as “a person qualified through education and training to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of the law and procedures and who is not a qualified solicitor or barrister or legal executive”.
Paralegals may work for, or be retained by solicitors within the legal profession, or they may work within a legal environment within commerce, industry, or the public sector.
Working in a law office, the paralegal often acts as a legal administrative assistant. They routinely draft documents, complete forms, interview clients, and prepare retainers. The type of work conducted often varies depending on the speciality of the law firm.
For instance, a conveyancing paralegal may routinely fill out documents pertaining to conveyancing of freehold and leasehold properties including sales and purchase, re-mortgages, and closing. A litigation paralegal, on the other hand, may conduct legal research for an upcoming court case.
Paralegals are expected to have good organisation and communication skills, be detail-oriented and passionate about the law, work well as part of a team as well as independently, work well under pressure, and have excellent research competency and analytical skills.