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Support Lawyers by doing research and paperwork on their cases.

What does a Paralegal do?

Paralegals aren’t lawyers but do many of the same tasks that lawyers do, just without the law degree—or the massive student loan debt—of a licensed attorney.

As a paralegal, or legal assistant, you keep your law firm’s head above water with your skills in research, administration, organization and communication. Think of a law firm like a pyramid: The lawyers are at the top, and you’re the base that’s keeping them there.

In that sense, your job is quite literally a support function. Whether you work for a law firm, a corporation, or the government, you spend your days buttressing attorneys with several tasks. You conduct interviews with clients, for instance, and correspond with them about their cases; you prepare and draft legal documents, including pleadings, motions, contracts and agreements; and you help lawyers prepare for closings, hearings, trials and meetings by researching laws, articles and court records relevant to their cases. You might even analyze your research and use it to help lawyers prepare their legal arguments.

The only things you won’t do—because the law prohibits it—are set legal fees, offer legal advice, and present cases in court. You might not be Perry Mason, therefore, but you’ll have a front row seat to his show.