Paralegals and legal assistants do many of the same things that lawyers and attorneys do. They are not a lawyer, but capable of doing legal work. Most work in an attorney's office and assist lawyers. A paralegal can work anywhere that legal assistance and knowledge is required.

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What a Paralegal and Legal Assistant Does

A paralegal or legal assistant will help the lawyer prepare for a case by doing research, preparing documents, organizing the files and other work to prepare for a trial.

Paralegals do routine assignments such as drafting wills, mortgages, guardianship papers, separation and divorce papers, and other legal documents required by attorneys and their clients. They work under the supervision of an attorney, and the attorney takes the final responsibility of the legal assistant's work.

What a paralegal or legal assistant does depends on the type of firm for which they work. If they are working for a trial firm, they will be doing work to prepare for trial. If a contract or general practice firm, their work will be for that purpose.


Some community colleges offer programs that allow students courses to get an associate degree. The courses will cover the required legal requirements for the degree. Some colleges and universities offer bachelor and master degrees in the field. Some attorneys give on the job training for a legal assistant. Legal secretaries are good candidates to move up as a paralegal. The requirements vary between the states, but have similar requirements.

Job Aptitude

Some of the main requirements for this job are the ability to do research and have good writing skills. This will be part of the education, but it a person has problems doing this, perhaps they should look for a different profession. If the student can do this, it is a good profession for them to consider.


Certification isn't required, but it is a professional advantage for the paralegal or legal assistant to be certified. This will open doors and validate a paralegal's education and experience. Different legal organizations offer documents and awards to certify that the paralegal meets education and experience standards.

Difference Between Lawyers and Paralegals

A lawyer can try cases, set fees and give legal advice. The paralegal may assist the attorney in these processes, but cannot do them without being a licensed attorney.

While a paralegal isn't an attorney, they do many of the same things a lawyer does. Paralegals and legal assistants are professionals and have a job that pays well and offers advancement. It is also provides for a person to work in the field to determine if they want to become an attorney.