Lawsuits and other legal proceedings are not a one-man team’s job. Clients may be working with one or two lawyers, but there are more people who handle each prosecution or defense claims. Law firms have special assistants who aid lawyers in researching information, drafting papers, and creating good strategies.
Many people aim to work in a law firm one day, whether as a paralegal or a legal secretary. These people are essential because they make the job of lawyers much easier. Many people, though, mistake these two as one. As related as they sound, these legal professions widely differ from the other.
LegalStudies.com noted that paralegals are basically responsible for the lower-priority duties of lawyers, while legal secretaries are more of an administrative assistant. There are instances, though, wherein their jobs overlap. This is because it mostly depends on the needs of the law firm.
Less of a Lawyer, But Almost There
In general, paralegals are higher in professional status than legal secretaries. They may have a better knowledge of legal theories and terms because it requires at least two years of experience as a legal secretary and a certificate or degree. They are the ones that report directly to the lawyers and need not to be supervised oftentimes. As deputies, their main job is to assist in general case management.
More of a Specialized Legal Administrative Assistant
Legal secretaries, on the other hand, do not need to have a certificate or degree. Their main job is to file and organize documents, transcribe reports, customer service, assisting both lawyers and paralegals, and office duties in general. Being a legal secretary is the most probable route if you are eyeing to be a paralegal. In most firms, paralegals supervise legal secretaries; in others, they work independently.
Despite being two different professions, paralegals and legal secretaries complement each other. They relatively work close and rely on each other most of the time.