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14 ILLUMINATING CLASSES OF PARALEGALS

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1. Corporate Paralegals

Corporate law is a transnational specialty practice area. It includes formation and maintenance of corporate entities, partnerships and limited liability companies, franchising and business opportunities, commercial transactions, and mergers and acquisitions.

A corporate paralegal performs support functions in the daily operations of a legal division or a law firm by reviewing, gathering, organising and processing information relevant to case files. One of the responsibilities of corporate paralegals is to ensure that financial and capital transactions are carried out properly.

2. Finance Paralegals

These are also known as finance legal assistance. They help attorneys with their duties which encompass the regulations concerning the financial expenses of government or public finance laws and controlling the funding and administration of particular government activities including the purchase and sales of different types of bonds.

According to Margaret Lucas Agius, (eHow contributor), A public finance paralegal’s duties may include assisting attorneys with research and drafting of documents for tax-example bond financings, drafting resolutions for issuers, working with attorneys and clients to have bond measures place on election ballots.

It is also preparing legal and closing documents, organising document signings with clients and other financing parties; preparing and filing required reporting documents with state and federal agencies and research for preparing preliminary and final official statements.

3. Banking, Finance and Bankruptcy Paralegals

A Bankruptcy paralegal: is a person qualified through education, training or work experience, and is employed by a law office, government agency or other entity under the supervision of an attorney on a permanent or contract basis in a capacity or function which involves bankruptcy law.

According to Pamela Parker (eHow contributor), a bankruptcy paralegal provides legal support to bankruptcy lawyers and trustees. A bankruptcy paralegal can work as an employee for a law firm or trustee’s office.

An experienced bankruptcy paralegal can also work as an independent contractor who assists lawyers on a contractual basis.

The duties of a bankruptcy paralegal differ based on which aspects of bankruptcy she is involved in. The educational requirements and salary of paralegals vary based on location and experience.

4. Insurance Paralegals

In view of Jodie Toohey, (eHow contributor), these paralegals assist attorneys retained by insurance companies that was bound by their insurance policies to represent their insureds who are defendants in a variety of cases.

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Many of the tasks an insurance paralegal may perform in the area of litigation are as follows: instead of drafting of petitions and complaints, an insurance paralegal is expected to draft the answer as well as any counter or cross-claims against the plaintiffs or third parties.

The insurance company may have already gathered significant information and documents; therefore, you will want to obtain the claim file so you don’t duplicate any work.

5. Real Estate Paralegals

Real estate paralegals work with lawyers in residential and commercial real estate matters or issues. They assist attorneys in research and carrying out various tasks, and preparing cases associated with real estate and land-use matters.

Their duties may include preparing documents for hearings, trials closings or meetings. They may also have the responsibility of reviewing documents related to bankruptcies and real estate.

Basically, there are four paths people can pursue to become real estate paralegals:

1) Associate’s degree programs that are usually offered at community colleges;

2) Bachelor’s degree curriculum provided by many four-year institutions;

3) Master’s degree programs; or

4) Certificate programs that are usually designed for individuals who already have a degree but would like to change careers.

 6. Environmental Paralegals

They assist attorneys primarily in types of practice such as regulatory compliance, litigation, both practice areas required some of the same knowledge and skills with the regulatory practice relying heavily on knowledge of federal, state and local environmental regulation and with the litigation practice relying heavily on knowledge of civil procedure, case law research and general litigation.

7. Labour and Employment Paralegals

Margaret Lucas Agius, (eHow Contributor) argued that Labour and employment law involves employment issues and the regulation of labour relations including collective bargaining, employment at will, employment contracts, occupational safety, retaliation, sexual harassment, wage and hour rules, whistle-blowing protections and workplace discrimination..

According to National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), a labour and employment paralegal may expect to deal with a number of state and federal agencies, statutes and regulations.

The agencies include the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Statutes and regulations include Americans with Disabilities Act and the Freedom of Information Act.

8. Patent Paralegals

A patent is an award by the US Patent and Trademark Office that permits the patent owner to maintain a monopoly for a restricted period of time on the development and use of an Innovation or Invention. According to Magaret Lucas Agius, (eHow contributor), Patent Jaw is sub-specialty of Intellectual Property Law.

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Patent paralegal duties and responsibilities include maintaining docket system of due dates, Patent Cooperation Treaty requirements and payments of patent annuities in foreign countries, coordinating international filings with foreign law firms and other foreign entities.

It is preparing status summary reports for attorneys and clients, and performing online searches of US Patent and Trademark Office Records, industry databases and other legal research..

9. Litigation Paralegals

According to Sally Kane (About.com guide), Litigation paralegals often take the lead in pre-claim investigation.

The paralegal’s role may involve locating and interviewing witnesses, taking witness statements, gathering documents and evidence, creating case investigation notebooks, organising documents and creating a chronology of facts.

Litigation paralegals on the plaintiff side may assist in drafting pleadings including the summons, complaint and affidavits. Paralegals on the defense side

may collaborate with the client to investigate the allegations and formulate responses. Litigation paralegals are often charged with the task of creating and maintaining pleadings indexes and filing pleadings with the court. Paralegals also calendar hearing dates and filing deadlines.

10. Immigration Paralegals

Margaret Lucas Agius (eHow Contributor) said paralegals are widely used in immigration law, but face increasingly demanding education, experience and foreign language fluency requirements in one or more foreign languages, which can include Haitan Creole, Tagalog, Spanish, Indian (urdi Hindi Punjabi), Portuguese and French.

An immigration paralegal’s duties may include drafting applications, petitions, letters and affidavits; coordinating filing of applications and petitions, translation of foreign documents and equivalency evaluations of foreign degrees and researching availability of foreign documents, immigrant and non-immigrant visa alternatives.

11. Nurse Paralegals

Nurse paralegals investigate legal issues related to health insurance claims. A nurse paralegal is a nurse who also has a significant legal training by combining nursing experience with legal training. A nurse paralegal will perform many functions to assist a legal case.

A nurse paralegal working for an insurance company may be hired to go through all insurance claims provided by hospitals and medical facilities to ensure every claim is legitimate and ensure that no frivolous claims are being made which may be unnecessary treatments and not covered by insurance.

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12. Trust and Estate Paralegals

Margaret Lucas Aguis, (eHow contributor) emphasised that Trust and Estate Law includes intestacy and other probate matters.

According to the Martindale-Hubbell Areas of Law Definitions within, a larger law firm, it may be grouped with other practice areas involving individuals and families such as elder law, family law, health law, marriage and relationship planning, nonprofit and charitable organisations, real estate and wealth transfer planning.

Trust duties include obtaining a tax identification number; drafting tax returns, trust agreements, inventories, accounts, petitions and pleadings; coordinating periodic income and principal distributions from trusts and the transfer of assets into trusts.

It is also performing investment analysis and routine trust accounting; maintaining financial records of trusts; making income payments to trust beneficiaries; preparing schedule of allocations to trusts under will and distributing trust assets at termination of the trust.

 13. Probate Paralegals

Probate is the court-supervised procedure following a person’s death. Margaret Lucas Aguis, (eHow contributor) this includes proving the validity of the deceased’s will, appointing someone to handle the deceased’s affairs.

it is also identifying and inventorying the deceased’s property, paying debts and taxes, identifying heirs and distributing the deceased’s property. Probate attorneys assign a variety of duties to probate paralegals. Some of the duties are:

14. Entertainment Paralegals

An entertainment paralegal may work on matters for clients in the movie, music, television and theatre industries.

Entertainment law concerns legal issues facing the visual arts, motion pictures, radio, television, music, publishing and theater. Los Angeles and New York City are the major issues of the entertainment industry in the United States.

Large international law firms, such as Greenberg Traurig, LLP arid Arnold and Porter LLP have well-established entertainment and media industry practices.

Entertainment law can be a targeted practice, for example, concerning only contracts used in the entertainment and performance arts.

It can also be a general practice with clients in the entertainment field bringing in a wide variety of issues including labour and employment law, intellectual property law, personal services contract law, unions, breach of contract claims, litigation and alternate dispute resolution.

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