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Paralegals: A Pillar of Legal Support


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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.

About Us

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.

September 19, 2016 |

Questions for Your Divorce Consultation


It is necessary to prepare yourself for your divorce consultation. First, you ought to prepare psychologically. Be prepared to go over things that are extremely individual, which you might not be accustomed to discussing with others. This is specifically applicable when you are having marital or familial troubles. Know that it is fine to reveal anger, aggravation, and pain, and that it is okay to weep. Acknowledging these emotions prior to starting will help the consultation go more smoothly for you.

When you have prepared yourself psychologically, prepare yourself mentally as well by thinking about what your lawyer will ask you in addition to any concerns you might want to prepare ahead of time to ask in return.

Questions Your Attorney Will Ask You

Throughout your initial interview with a divorce attorney, anticipate that the attorney will supply you with an overview of what to anticipate relative to at least the following 5 issues: (1) the divorce process, (2) matters regarding any small kids of the marriage, (3) splitting up your assets and liabilities, (4) support (both kid support and spousal assistance), and (5) the related attorneys’ fees and costs. In order to be able to deal with these 5 primary issues for you and to provide you with a potential gameplan, it will be required for the attorney to make substantial inquiries into all sorts of matters. Some of the concerns will be standard info research, but many will refer to small children, finances, and personal matters such as any initiating actions that led to the divorce.

Know that when addressing these questions the attorney-client privilege is in place, meaning anything you tell the lawyer will not, and can not, be repeated to anybody without your express permission. With that understanding, it is imperative that you inform the attorney the truth and provide all the related details. The quality of the suggestions you receive will be proportional to the truthfulness with which you address the lawyer’s questions.

Concerns You Must Bring Up With Your Attorney

1. The number of cases of this type have you required to trial?

It’s one thing to have “dealt with” divorce cases, and quite another to have actually taken cases to trial. Most cases settle, and the best attorneys are excellent at settling cases so that going to court is not essential. Some attorneys nevertheless are hesitant to take any case to trial.

While you may be positive your case will settle, it is a good idea to consider a divorce attorney who has a good balance of trial experience while staying a supporter of settlement. You do not desire a divorce attorney who takes every case to court since it demonstrates that they may be unreasonable, may unknown the law, or might be too interested in gathering legal costs. However, having actually taken cases to trial shows your attorney is well-informed about the law in theory and practice as you can not “phony” your method through family law in a court.

2. Exactly what should I be doing now to secure myself?

Prior to you leave that office, ensure you have discussed exactly what you must be doing until the next action step in your case. Should you be paying child support or spousal support (PSS)? How should you handle joint credit accounts or financial accounts? Immediate common sense actions can save you numerous difficulties as well as saving you a significant amount of money in many situations.

For instance, failure to pay appropriate kid assistance (at standard levels) or short-term spousal support (PSS) increases the opportunities of you being ordered to pay your spouse’s lawyer fees which can be a little fortune. A divorce legal representative will not be able to provide you specific figures at an initial assessment due to the absence of information about your case, however they should be able to make you aware of the risk and prospective commitment and offer you some support.

In some cases, limiting orders can be obtained to stop a spouse from spending or concealing cash and assets too. A good divorce attorney can assist you minimize your dangers and secure your financial future.

3. What can I do to make this easier on everyone involved?

In order to get the most out of your relationship with your attorney, it is finest that you take part in a collaborative method with them. Attempt to be as organized as possible since it is in this way that you can enable your attorney to be proactive and not reactive to your spouse’s lawyer during proceedings. By being prepared throughout the procedures, your legal representative can concentrate on really advocating for you, as they will have a toolbox filled with all the appropriate details you have offered them with.

Lastly, a good lawyer will have recommendations to offer on ways to deal with the case efficiently. They can offer coaching, advise family counselors or therapists, and otherwise provide aid beyond the courtroom. Bring the topic up. Take advantage of their experience.

About the Author

Stacey Schmidt is lead counsel of the divorce and family law team at Schmidt and Gladstone. She received her education at Brigham Young University graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 1989, and continuing on to the J Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young for her Juris Doctorate Degree in 1992.

September 13, 2016 |

Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child?

child custody and support utah

utah divorce attorneyIt depends on what sort of joint custody you are speaking about. Legal custody relates to decision-making authority and has nothing to do with child support. Joint physical custody is in fact, an unclear term and exactly what matters is how time is divided. In the majority of joint physical custody circumstances, the child’s time is divided between the moms and dads in such a way that means one mom and dad has more time than the other with the child. With this kind of joint custody, child support is payable. If this is a true 50/50 time share, child support is frequently still purchased to be paid by the moms and dad with more cash to the one with less, but there are definitely cases in which none is purchased.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is when a mom and dad can make major choices about the child’s life. Joint legal custody provides both moms and dads the right making decisions collectively for the child. For example, moms and dads with joint legal custody should make joint decisions concerning the child’s health, education and religious beliefs. Both moms and dads usually have equivalent access to the child’s academic and health records. Joint legal custody does not impact child support.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to with whom the child will reside. If one mom and dad has full physical custody, the other moms and dad may have visitation privileges. Visitation may be described as “sensible” or “structured” in many jurisdictions. Sensible visitation indicates that there is not a well-established schedule for visitation. Rather, it goes through the arrangement of the parents. Structured visitation occurs on a regular schedule, such as particular vacations, weekends and summer visitations. Joint physical custody likewise includes a schedule of when the child will be with each parent. The child generally resides with both moms and dads at various periods. While some moms and dads may have joint custody, they may not have the child the precise very same amount of time as the other moms and dad. In some cases, moms and dads have both joint legal and physical custody. In others, they may only have joint legal custody.

Joint Custody Child Support Calculator

Child support is a series of periodic payments that a mom and dad pays in order to financially support and care for his or her child. In cases where one parent has full custody of the child, the other parent is generally purchased to pay child support to the custodial parent. The quantity of child support that is granted is frequently based upon a certain formula that is designated by a state statute. In joint custody cases, the moms and dad with the higher income may be bought to pay child support to the parent with lower income. The quantity of child support that a party need to pay depends upon the state law where the child support order is issued. Use a Utah Joint Custody Child Support Calculator here.

July 7, 2016 |
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