We often see attorneys, lawyers and paralegals working together in a courtroom but we don’t understand the exact difference between lawyer and attorney. Here is Paralegal vs lawyer:-
👉Paralegal vs lawyer
Though there are some similarities between a paralegal and a lawyer, there are many key differences in their job roles which make them quite different and unique from each other.
If you think that there are only differences between these professions then that’s not all.
Of course, there are some similarities such as filing of cases, drafting of legal documents, collecting evidence, talking with witnesses and much more.
However, much of the documentation and research is often done by a paralegal because lawyers, law offices and even legal firms these days appoint them to do the same.
A paralegal is almost like a legal assistant to a lawyer but he also escapes from the scrutiny which a lawyer has to go through due to an incorrect representation of facts or due to lack of oratory skills.
👉Paralegal vs Lawyer Reddit
Here is Paralegal vs Lawyer infographic
Therefore, we must consider some important aspects while doing a comparative analysis of paralegal vs lawyer.
Here are those aspects:
👉Paralegal lawyer definition
- Paralegal: A paralegal is a person who is hired by a law firm, government body, lawyer or any other organization to undertake the legal works which are often a part of a lawyer’s or attorney’s duties.
- In other words, a paralegal is a professional who is working as per the instructions of a lawyer or attorney. Therefore, the legal services provided by a paralegal are limited as compared to an attorney or lawyer.
- Lawyer: An individual whose profession is to give legal advice to his clients and who studies or practices law is called a lawyer. He might be referred to as a barrister, attorney or solicitor as well.
- Their primary job is to present arguments in courts on the basis of witnesses or evidence. The lawyer who fights cases for an accused is called a defense lawyer and the one who fights cases against the accused is called a prosecution lawyer.
However, to dig in minute differences we will have to study more on the comparison between paralegal vs lawyers.
Check out difference between lawyer and attorney.
👉Paralegal vs lawyer for a divorce
Individuals who have filed for divorce are often confused about whether to go for lawyers or paralegals since both of them seem to be performing the same duties at least in the initial stages.
Many-a-times the case is uncomplicated as both the parties want the same thing and do not have other demands.
In such cases, you can hire a paralegal since it will be much more economically viable for you.
However, lawyers should be preferred whenever the case is more complex and requires legal consultation or someone to represent a case in the courtroom.
Here are some of the advantages of hiring a paralegal (Benefits):
- Cost-effective: The charges of a paralegal are much more cost-effective and budget-friendly when we compare them with the fees of a lawyer.
- Dedication: Hiring a paralegal can prove to be much more fruitful as they do not handle many complicated cases which a lawyer does. Therefore, a paralegal will be able to devote more time and be a legal assistant in the real sense.
- Experience in court matters: Though lawyers are law experts and skillful in handling a wide spectrum of legal issues and matters, their competence in filing court cases and handling procedures can be questioned since these duties are mostly fulfilled by the paralegals.
👉The transition from paralegal to lawyer
There are many paralegals those who actually have a law degree but work under a lawyer or attorney to gain experience of legal procedures and cases.
It’s easier than you think
since it is natural for them to take up the role of a lawyer after gaining sufficient exposure to court cases, procedures and documentation.
However, there are quite a few instances when a paralegal does not hold a bachelor’s degree in law.
Such individuals should opt for an undergraduate degree course and after that, they can build a career as a lawyer by extending it by a bachelor’s course.
Numerous paralegals have proven themselves as successful lawyers since they have more experience in handling the documentation part and other legal procedures.
They also wish to become a lawyer because lawyers draw much higher salary than paralegals and other legal assistants.
For many paralegals, getting admission to a law school is an expensive endeavor.
Being a legal assistant is a different thing but presenting arguments in a courtroom filled with people can be quite a challenging task for any individual.
Moreover, the competence of a lawyer is totally judged on his performance in the courtroom whereas paralegals do most of their tasks outside a courtroom.
Therefore, they must be completely aware of these aspects before opting for a career as a lawyer.
If a paralegal is working for a law firm, he/she can confirm with the HR whether or not he/she can apply for a role as a lawyer after completing their law degree.
If the response is positive, it should be given a fairly smooth start for their justice career as a lawyer.
However, some law firms do not approve of the same and in such cases, a paralegal can apply to another law firm or he/she can start practicing in the individual capacity.
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👉Paralegal vs legal assistant family law
Many-a-times it happens that a paralegal and legal assistant specializing in family law are considered to be one and the same.
Both of them perform almost the same duties but do you know what’s the real story?
For example, a legal assistant who is dedicated to only those cases that involve domestic disputes and relationships get exposed to cases like divorce, property conflict, alimony, domestic violence, child custody, etc. whereas a paralegal would be exposed to both domestic and criminal cases.
There are some paralegals those who specialize in family law as well but they also handle other types of cases whereas the legal assistant specializing in family law has limited options as he can only assist in family matters and disputes.
One must also consider the fact that paralegals generally enjoy a better position and status in a law firm whereas legal assistants are considered merely to be assistants.
Also, the conversion rate from paralegal to lawyer is better than the conversion rate from legal assistant to a lawyer.
Check out different types of lawyers.
👉What is the difference between a paralegal and a legal assistant?
Now, there are many legal assistants who perform the same amount of work or research as the paralegals do.
However, paralegals are considered to be much experienced and knowledgeable than legal assistants since they have cleared certifications like NALA.
Here are some differences between a paralegal and legal assistant:
Legal assistants are more inclined towards the documentation part and have to do little or no research on a particular case.
Paralegals are indulged in the technical aspect of a case and have to take care of the legal documentation whereas a legal assistant might also have to do ordinary tasks like filling out excel data sheets.
Also, paralegals earn slightly more than legal assistants.
Legal assistants are subjected to office related works and have to be pro-efficient at typing and Microsoft Office tools whereas paralegals must have in-depth knowledge of legal terms and procedures.
Both paralegals and legal assistant might solve the queries of clients but there’s a catch here.
The legal assistants are not permitted to give any suggestion to the clients whereas a paralegal can provide legal support and advice on the basis of his experience and skills.
In order to work as a paralegal, one must have at least one associate educational degree whereas it is not mandatory to be a legal assistant.
Therefore, it is pretty much evident that a legal assistant has to ride a tough road if he wants to become a lawyer whereas it is much smoother for paralegals since they already have the technical details and skills to become a lawyer.
However, most of them think that they already are in a similar profession so why not give it a go!
👉What does a paralegal do?
A paralegal performs most of the duties and tasks which are bound by legal framework and procedures.
He does everything a lawyer can do except presenting cases in the courtroom.
That’s not all, his regular duties also include drafting legal documents, researching on a case, handling and maintaining case files and much more.
Based on their experience and skill set, here’s what most of the paralegals do:
- Investigation – Most of the paralegals investigate the facts and evidence of a particular case. He also might interview a witness sometimes and therefore, is usually responsible for exploring the nuances of a particular case.
- Assisting lawyers – A paralegal might also assist lawyers while preparing for a case. He/she might give some useful pointers that could prove to be very useful especially since a lawyer is involved in multiple cases at a time.
- A paralegal also helps a lawyer during a case proceeding as he/she briefs a lawyer about the next evidence or witness.
- Maintaining data – The most basic task of a paralegal is to maintain information and data of various cases.
- Drafting – All the legal documents such as mortgages, notices, contracts, etc. are drafted by paralegals.Personal injury Lawyer is almost similar to litigation paralegal because they share the same duties & immigration paralegal usually focus on immigration law.Paralegals must represent the highest ethical standards, not unethical behavior.
A paralegal’s salary depends on the law firm or lawyer he is working for.
Also, it varies slightly with his specialization and skills.
For example, a corporate paralegal might earn much more than a criminal law paralegal depending on the nature of the case he is working for.
Mostly, law firms and lawyers charge separately for paralegals since it is a tasking job.
However, those rates are much less than that of a lawyer.
For examples, a lawyer in the U.S might charge $250 per day for himself and $100 or even less for a paralegal working under him.
👉How to become a paralegal
To become a paralegal, we need to require a fresh four-year bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies.
The best part of being a paralegal is that you get exposure to a variety of cases without having to fight for it in the courtrooms.
Lawyers enjoy a much higher salary but the stakes for them as also high as a lawyer with less reputation may not get hired frequently but a paralegal will get hired even if he underperformed in the last case because it is hard to gauge his performance.
But there’s a catch here as well since an individual who has worked as a paralegal for many years might never command much respect in a particular law firm even after becoming a lawyer for obvious reasons.
Therefore, it is hard to gauge the real winner when it comes to lawyer vs paralegal since both these professions have their own ups and downs.
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