What is the difference between a legal assistant and a paralegal?

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, paralegals and legal assistants actulegalassistant_ss_30025573ally perform job functions that are both related and different. On the job, the work they do is essential in ensuring that their organization will function properly and in a timely manner.

The role of the paralegal
Paralegals are frequently involved in casework, do legal research and assist in drafting legal documents. In addition, private organizations usually hire those with a background in law or political science because of the work they will be expected to do as a paralegal.
Because of the complex job functions they perform, paralegals earn about $49,640 annually in the United States, and this varies according to their experience, paralegal training and location. They can also advance their careers by completing additional paralegal schooling, which increases their legal knowledge and enhances their professional skills as well.

The role of the legal assistant
Legal assistants are usually part of their employer’s support staff, and they perform the administrative duties that attorneys and paralegals require. As a rule, they have secretarial experience, are skilled in maintaining accurate records, and are absolutely essential in helping lawyers and paralegals to do their job.

The salaries of legal assistants also depend on the area they work in and the job duties they perform. They also have the option of adding to their qualifications by becoming certified in some area, such as completing the legal assistant training program sponsored by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).

Information gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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