Among the most significant aspects inflating legal expenses is the use of people with seniority (and billing rates) greater than is necessary. For instance, in case after case, law practices utilize partners and associates to perform low-level jobs (and then, naturally, bill for those tasks at partner and associate rates). Occasionally, this is due to the fact that the company is too small to have anybody else do the work instead. Other times, it’s an outright attempt to raise income.
So what can you do about it? You can employ a paralegal!
What Are Paralegals?
Paralegals assist lawyers in the delivery of legal services. The profession began in the late 1960’s when law practices and individual specialists looked for methods to improve the economical fulfillment of legal services. Usage of paralegals in a law firm eventually reduces the expense to the client and leisure time for attorneys.
Paralegals are qualified by education, training or work experience and are employed or maintained by an attorney, law workplace, corporation, governmental agency or other entity to perform specifically entrusted substantive legal work for which an attorney is accountable. In a law office setting, a paralegal’s time invested in substantive legal work is billed to clients at market rates, much like other expert personnel, however frequently at a lower rate than attorneys. This identifies paralegals from other non-lawyer employee, who generally just work on clerical or administrative tasks. As a general rule, paralegal time invested in administrative or clerical functions is not billable.
Only licensed lawyers may give legal advice to consumers of legal services, and paralegals are forbidden from doing so. The work instrument of the paralegal becomes the attorney’s work product. Paralegals likewise are restricted from accepting a case, setting a charge, or representing a customer in court (unless authorized by the court). All states require lawyers to be accredited and the majority of have statutes enforcing charges for those found to be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Paralegals work in a variety of legal practice areas, varying from litigation and trial practice to tax, realty transactions, and estate planning. The terms “legal assistant” and “paralegal” are utilized interchangeably, similar to the terms attorney and legal representative.
What Paralegals Can Do
Household Law & Divorce: Paralegal help includes initial paper files for divorce filings (summons, petition, and so on), disclosure affirmations (earnings & expenditure, schedule of possessions & debts), discovery files & movements, arrears, judgment packets, etc.
Debt Collection/Bankruptcy: assist customers with the completion of required credit therapy prior to appropriate personal bankruptcy petitions, prepare Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy petitions (including learning state exemptions and Chapter 13 plans), and so on.
Proprietor/Tenant Law: help customers when signing a lease by ensuring it abides by suitable laws to secure your own interests, know and understand your rights, protect rights of both tenants and property owners, help landlords in the procedure of kicking out a tenant, and so on.
Civil Law: assist clients in the process of taking cases to court (litigation), legal and accurate research study, looking up background details on involved parties, clarifying truths, handle confidential details, assist in preparation for trial, preparation and service of subpoenas, summarizing medical records, and setting up depositions, etc.
The greatest advantage of paralegals is expense reduction. The basic math is that the typical internal lawyer makes $78,000-124,000 per year. That is roughly $39-62 per hour. A paralegal on the other hand makes $46,000-70,000 per year, or $23-35 per hour. Internal counsel must consider this drastic distinction in cost when assessing the value of paralegals. In many situations, paralegals can do the job of an attorney for much less.
Wall & Wall Legal Solutions is a Salt Lake City divorce attorney that represents clients throughout the entire state of Utah, including the areas surrounding SLC such as Provo, Ogden, Farmington, Tooele, Park City, Heber City, Woods Cross, Bountiful and St. George.