PARALEGAL PRACTICE/LEGAL SECRETARY
Depending on what you call it, be it Paralegal or Legal secretary, we are talking about the same thing here. But we will stick to Paralegal here!
Paralegals are professionals trained to assist lawyers in various legal capacities. In a broader sense, they assist lawyers, attorneys, advocates and legal executives in various legal capacities.
A qualification in Paralegal studies is an entry level qualification into the legal world. According to recent research, 75% of Paralegals end up qualifying as practising lawyers, attorneys and advocates.
WHAT DO PARALEGALS/LEGAL SECRETARIES DO?
The role a paralegal plays depends on experience and also on the size of the law firm or the organisation in which the paralegal works. The bigger the law firm or organisation, the more the responsibilities of the Paralegal.
Though not limited, a summary of what they is listed below:
1. Researching legal cases
2. Investigating the facts of case
3. Writing reports and legal documents
4. Drafting pleadings and motions to be filed with the court
5. Assisting attorneys during trials
6. Preparing civil documents such as wills, contracts, mortgages, and separation agreements
7. Interviewing witnesses and clients
8. Maintaining communication with clients
JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR PARALEGAL GRADUATES
1. In community-based advice offices run by community organisations or NGOs
2. Employed by a government department or a non-government organisation
3. Working in Labour Law consultancies or for trade unions
4. Employed by a Legal Practitioner or a Law Firm
5. Self-employed as a Paralegal Practitioner or Legal consultant
6. Employed in a banking, insurance or other corporate environments
7. The Minister of Police has recently indicated the South African Police Services will be looking to employ Paralegals to assist in police stations throughout the country.