Paralegal Vs. Legal Assistant

Difference Between Paralegal and Legal Assistant

Paralegal and legal assistant are terms that are used to describe each other within the legal industry. A paralegal and legal assistant share similar roles when it comes to assisting a lawyer and a law firm. However, the two are not used interchangeably with legal secretaries who do not play the same role.

Law school is an exceptionally difficult and expensive type of schooling. It is three extra years on top of college. If you are interested in joining the legal field, but not ready to go through law school becoming an attorney or a legal assistant could be a good path for you. Lawyers rely on attorneys to help them win cases.

If you are located in Miami Dade County and looking for a process server contact a trusted company such as DLE Legal. When it comes to real-time court reporting in Miami using a trusted company to help you win legal battles it is important to go with a trusted and reliable company.

Before going into too much information about the two, let’s dive into the details and a legal assistant.

What does a Paralegal do?

Paralegals conduct research on the laws and cases for the lawyers prior to the court case. They assist the lawyer by helping them get ready for the trial by writing reports, filing appeals, and opposing counsel. Paralegals put a lot of work into their cases and because of this, they are able to bill clients for their hard work where legal assistants are not able to do.

Paralegals help with preparation in the trial by assisting clients and answering questions. However, paralegals unlike lawyers are not able to offer legal advice or guide clients to going down one path or another. They also can not sign a plea deal or any other legal documents that must be reviewed by an attorney.

Some paralegals work as independent contractors while others work with law firms to provide assistance with paralegal work in cases. Their responsibilities can vary depending on the firm that they are working for.

Paralegals in Miami Dade County are also able to work as process servers. As long as they are 18 years of age and not an employee of the law firm serving the papers, it is legal.

What does a Legal Assistant do?

Legal assistants have several names such as administrative assistant and paralegal. Legal assistants are responsible for more administrative things than paralegals are. They may be answering phones, using software to keep up with appointments or prepare legal documents.

Many law firms refer to a legal assistant as a legal secretary to make billing less complicated when it comes to billing their clients.

  • Draft and proofread court-related documents
  • Manage billing from clients and send out bills
  • Collect and organize all evidence or legal proceedings for the lawyer to go over
  • Maintaining and organizing documents related to filing (paper and electronic)

Paralegal vs Legal Assistant Main Skills

Paralegal and legal assistants share similar duties and tasks. However, legal assistants have a broader range of responsibilities. Here are some of the top skills of both that every paralegal and legal assistant should be extremely qualified in.

Paralegal:

  • Legal documentation
  • Legal document composition
  • Legal research
  • Litigation
  • Microsoft office

Legal Assistants:

  • Microsoft office
  • Scheduling
  • Legal support
  • Data entry
  • Administrative support

Who Else can Assist a Lawyer?

When it comes to hiring anyone to assist you on a legal case it is important that they are qualified. For example, if you are in Miami Dade and looking for a process server to serve legal documents to a defendant or client it is important they are properly licensed. Or if you are looking for a real-time court reporting service in Miami to keep track of the court proceedings contact a trusted legal service such as DLE Legal.

How Much Education is Needed to be a Paralegal and a Legal Assistant?

The biggest difference between a paralegal and legal assistance is the amount of schooling each undergoes. Most paralegals have obtained some sort of college degree whether this is a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, legal assistants may not even need any further education out of high school. As for becoming a process server in Miami, no degree is required, but a training program may be needed depending on the state. If you are interested in becoming a real-time court reporter in Miami you will need to have formal education which can also include receiving a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

Paralegal vs Legal Assistant Salaries

Paralegals and legal assistants also make different salaries because of the work that they perform. Paralegals make about $10,000 more a year, but this also depends on the state that they live in and the law firm that they work for. If a paralegal has a certificate they can often earn about 15% more on their average base salary.

If you are interested in becoming a paralegal or a legal assistant be sure to know the differences between the two before going down it as a career path. Both are great professions if you are interested in the law, but not ready to become a lawyer. You will be able to learn a lot about the legal system as well as legal terminology to even jumpstart your career into becoming a lawyer.

Who to Contact?

If you are looking for legal assistance in Miami Dade County such as hiring a process server, court reporter, depositions, notary service contact DLE Legal today. There are a variety of legal services that DLE Legal offers. DLE is proud to support the legal system as well as all attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants that help the courts each and every day.