7 Types of Paralegals: What Law Specialty Will You Pursue?

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Law is multi-faceted pursuit with lots of areas you might explore as a Paralegal. If you’ve been thinking of entering the field, think of your options. Do you want to spend time on criminal trials or are you excited by big business? Interested in the ins and outs of the real estate market or more by how and why people and companies sue one another. Check out 7 types of paralegals and see which one appeals to you the most.

1. Family Law Paralegal

As a Family Law Paralegal, you help people during some of the best and worst times of their lives. When families want to adopt a child or when marriages dissolve and custody battles ensue, family lawyers counsel and advocate on behalf of their clients. As a Paralegal, you assist with the processes and paperwork. You may interview prospective parents and communicate with adoption agencies on the client’s behalf. In divorce proceedings, you prepare pleadings or update the clients on the status of their case. In this role, empathy and compassion are important skills to have as your clients feel a range of emotions, both positive and negative, depending on the circumstances.

 2. Corporate Paralegal

If you have an interest in business, corporate law may be the right path for you. As a corporate Paralegal, you assist companies instead of individuals. You work at corporate legal departments or business law firms, drafting documents, maintaining records, conducting due diligence, and assisting with corporate filings. You might help clients renew company licenses or review corporate contracts. You could draft executive summaries, prepare corporate resolutions, and take meeting minutes. You might help with entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, compliance, and corporate governance. In this area of law, you need to become an expert in state and federal regulations governing businesses so you can ensure they remain compliant in their dealings.

3. Intellectual Property Paralegals

Intellectual property has skyrocketed in recent years and the attorneys who protect it are valued across the country. They help their clients obtain copyrights, patents, and trademarks and then protect against infringement. As a Paralegal in this specialty, you help with applications or maintain IP portfolios. From an initial meeting with a client to the development of action plans, you serve as an important member of the IP legal team. You communicate with clients, conduct research, draft applications, handle correspondence, assist with appeals, prepare and file legal documents, and create status reports for all the cases you work on.

4. Real Estate Paralegal 

Buying and selling a house is a huge milestone for hopeful homebuyers. But there is a small mountain of paperwork that accompanies the event. As a Real Estate Paralegal, you assist attorneys and clients with a wide variety of legal documents. You might prepare offer letters and draft purchase and sale contracts. You might review seller disclosures, contract addendums, title insurance policies, home inspection reports, or overall deed language. You keep track of important deadlines and keep all parties on the same page. If a zoning or boundary issue arises, you might help clients understand their options and assist with schedule coordination and paperwork if they need to go to court. And you help prepare the closing documents. 

5. Litigation Paralegal

As a Litigation Paralegal, you work in a law firm that handles civil or criminal cases. Civil litigation is when one person sues another, while criminal litigation is when the state brings a suit against an individual or corporation. From the initial case investigation to post-trial procedures, you help attorneys do their jobs better. You may draft legal documents, conduct research, organize case files, and coordinate schedules with clients, attorneys, and court personnel. You might interview witnesses and investigators and help prepare them for trial. Or you may help with the discovery process or analyze legal statues and previous cases for information that could help the case. And you may take notes for the lawyer during the trial and help manage the public perception of the case. 

6. Immigration Paralegal

As an Immigration Paralegal, you assist people who are trying to move to the United States for work, family, or personal reasons. You help immigrants complete naturalization papers and file petitions for permanent residency. You could also help foreign college students obtain work visas so they can study in the U.S. Another part of immigration law assists people seeking political asylum or those in the country without papers who need to fight deportation. Being able to speak multiple languages would be an asset in this area of law. And while you might work in a law office for an immigration lawyer, you could also use your skills in immigration law to work for a nonprofit or government agency. 

7. Bankruptcy Paralegals

Bankruptcy is the legal process that helps people with debts they can’t afford have them forgiven. Whether you serve on the debtor or creditor side, as a Bankruptcy Paralegal, you prepare lots of standardized forms. You need to understand what they are, how they need to be completed, and where and when they should be filed. You may need to analyze financial documents, prepare bankruptcy petitions and schedules, communicate with creditors, and coordinate bankruptcy hearings. Your job is to file the right forms and provide documents that support your side. For example, if a creditor is trying to get paid, you may have investigators look for evidence that the debtor has more assets than they claim. If you work for the debtor, you would compile tax returns, pay stubs, and bills to prove that your client is financially unable to pay.

Whether you’re passionate about litigation, corporate law, intellectual property, or another legal field, there may be a paralegal role suited to your interests and skills. By exploring these seven types of paralegals and their respective responsibilities, you can gain insight into the diverse opportunities available in the legal profession. Are you ready to begin a career as a paralegal? Contact Charter College today. We offer an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal that can prepare you for an entry-level career in legal field. Our program can be completed online in as few as 15 months, so you can get to work faster. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.