Many have this idea that paralegal is equivalent to a lawyer. The real fact is not that. Paralegals are more like assistant to the lawyer. They don’t have the authority to offer legal advice, as many may belief. However, they are trained to do many tasks which a lawyer normally doesn’t perform. By assigning duties like drafting documents, performing legal research, proofreading, or bookkeeping to the paralegal, the lawyer can take more time out and concentrate on other projects. Thus the lawyer can devote a maximum of his professional time to more crucial topics. This further helps in saving costs too since the paralegal’s time is usually billed at a much lower rate than the attorney’s.
Paralegal staffs work for lawyers who cover varied and huge practice areas. Thus law firms or legal professionals who handle fields like litigation, bankruptcy, family law, foreclosures, probate and estate planning, collections, business/corporate, personal Injury, securities law can definitely benefit by hiring paralegal services. Such services can be broadly divided into two parts, based on skills and specialization: There are certain paralegal services which are voluminous but demand low-end skills.
On the other hand, certain tasks are of qualitative nature and demand legal knowledge to a certain extent. Few common paralegal responsibilities include completion of forms, document management, proofreading, bookkeeping, data entry, title search and also extending legal editing and publishing supports. Some of these tasks may appear very simple but the fact is that each service demands maximum concentration and seriousness. Employees of a busy law firm may find it difficult to handle these responsibilities on their own. This is one reason why the concept of outsourcing certain legal tasks has gained huge support from USA based law firms and legal advisors.
The recent economic slowdown is another reason why many US law firms have opted for outside services rather than investing on own infrastructure and resources. While the US-based attorney usually charges an approximate of $200 -$300 on an hourly basis his counterpart from the offshore team charges quite a nominal amount of around USD 75-100 per hour. This straightaway results in saving up to 50%-90% of the cost which is really an impressive amount! Thus hiring legal attorneys from the outsourcing company seem quite a practical and economical approach. Not only the law firm saves money but it can be sure of best standard service within the limited time frame.