The Role Of The Paralegal Or Legal Assistant In The Criminal Justice Field

The Role Of The Paralegal Or Legal Assistant In The Criminal Justice Field

Paralegal or Legal Assistant is an exciting profession in the Criminal Justice field. It is hard to imagine a law office without a paralegal. They can be described as the right hand of the lawyer. In this article I examine the role of the paralegal or legal assistant in the criminal justice field.

The legal assistant as the name suggests is there to assist the lawyer. It is vitally important to know that the paralegal cannot give legal advice or act as a lawyer. What the paralegal does must be under the supervision of a lawyer. The paralegal can do the following under the watchful eye of a lawyer:

1. The paralegal can conduct client interviews. They must identify themselves as paralegals to the client before starting the interview. In this instance, the legal assistant helps the lawyer ascertain the facts of a case by talking to the client. This saves the lawyer valuable time. The lawyer can use that time to work on strategies for the case.

2. The legal assistant can locate and interview witnesses. If you watched the movie Erin Brockovich, you saw Julia Roberts play the role of a paralegal that locates and interviews clients. In one of the scenes, she clearly states that she is not a lawyer. This underlines the point above that paralegals cannot give legal advice. It also underlines the point that they identify themselves as such.

3. Legal assistants can research and prepare legal documents. Paralegals do acquire the training and experience necessary to prepare legal documents. All the lawyer has to do is double check the work to make sure it meets the legal requirements that such document requires. Again, I don’t have to tell what a valuable timesaver this is to a lawyer.

4. The paralegal can attend court trials. In this case, they help the lawyer with the case files. This way the lawyer is not fumbling in court looking for files or evidence. The paralegal is there to keep him or her organized.

I can write more volume on the role of the legal assistant or paralegal in the criminal justice field, but you get the point. It is indeed an exciting profession. Think of all the intriguing things that can be involved in a legal case. As a paralegal, you can be in the middle of it all.

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