A litigation paralegal is a specialist who is responsible for assisting attorneys throughout the trial process. On the plaintiff side, litigation paralegals conduct initial client interviews and legal research for case preparations. They assist with the preliminary examinations of witnesses and jury selection in the courtroom. Litigation paralegals often assist attorneys with case settlements and help identify issues for appeals. They must also possess excellent skills in verbal and written communication and should have great attention in detail.

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Litigation Paralegal Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real litigation paralegal resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Achieve sole responsibility for administration of all estates and guardianships.
  • Deliver PowerPoint presentations to various legal groups with regard to managing discovery.
  • Assist patent attorneys by managing invention disclosure documentation and relate correspondence with outside counsel and USPTO.
  • Organize and computer-log hundreds of litigation files, ranging from asbestos exposure to product liability cases.
  • Assist attorneys with all aspects of litigation from preliminary motions through discovery and preparations for arbitration or trial.
  • Proofread and edit legal documents.
  • Enter contracts and other documents into Sharepoint.
  • Gather, review, and proofread documents for accuracy and consistency.
  • Review files and assemble documents for IRS estate tax return audits.
  • Prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, motions.
  • Follow up weekly on all outstanding summonses until proper service is obtained, note and receive.
  • Work with the nursing homes in finding solutions for patients who need to file for Medicaid.
  • Conduct routine legal research using Westlaw; prepare legal research memos and discuss findings with requesting attorney.
  • Help Medicaid patient's families fill out documentation so their love ones can receive the benefits need.
  • Complete all conflicts reports, process search requests, update client matters, perform affiliation research using Lexis Nexis and Google.

Litigation Paralegal Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a litigation paralegal does, you may be wondering, "should I become a litigation paralegal?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, litigation paralegals have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 12% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of litigation paralegal opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 39,000.

A litigation paralegal annual salary averages $58,484, which breaks down to $28.12 an hour. However, litigation paralegals can earn anywhere from upwards of $40,000 to $83,000 a year. This means that the top-earning litigation paralegals make $40,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a litigation paralegal. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a law internship, summer associate, criminal justice lawyer, and legal administrator.

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Litigation Paralegal Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 22% of Litigation Paralegals are proficient in Litigation, Law Firm, and Trial Preparation. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Computer skills, and Interpersonal skills.

We break down the percentage of Litigation Paralegals that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Litigation, 22%

    Assisted one Litigation Partner and two Litigation Associates in the Insurance and Commercial Litigation Department with litigation support as requested.

  • Law Firm, 8%

    Provided exceptional legal and administrative support to 8 litigation attorneys at a multifaceted law firm.

  • Trial Preparation, 7%

    Involved in all aspects of litigation support including research, medical record analysis, investigation, document management and trial preparation.

  • Legal Research, 7%

    Gather and document factual information by interviewing clients and perform routine legal research to assist attorneys in determining appropriate legal action.

  • Subpoenas, 7%

    Prepared subpoenas to request required documentation needed for discovery and reviewed the subpoenaed documents to determine all necessary documentation was received.

  • Discovery Responses, 5%

    Reviewed and approved legal pleadings filed by outside counsel and assisting with drafting discovery responses and providing documents for production.

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Litigation Paralegal Resume

Some of the skills we found on litigation paralegal resumes included "litigation," "law firm," and "trial preparation." We have detailed the most important litigation paralegal responsibilities below.

  • Communication skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a litigation paralegal to have. According to a litigation paralegal resume, "paralegals must be able to document and present their research and related information to their supervising attorney." Litigation paralegals are able to use communication skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "manage expert witness files, deposition coverage, and communication with national counsel for use in tobacco litigation. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many litigation paralegal duties rely on computer skills. This example from a litigation paralegal explains why: "paralegals need to be familiar with using computers for legal research and litigation support." This resume example is just one of many ways litigation paralegals are able to utilize computer skills: "organized and computer-logged hundreds of litigation files, ranging from asbestos exposure to product liability cases. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among litigation paralegals is interpersonal skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a litigation paralegal resume: "paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "secured interpersonal relationships with other firms/counsels to guarantee documents are executed prior to confirmed foreclosure sale dates. "
  • A litigation paralegal responsibilities sometimes require "organizational skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "paralegals may be responsible for many cases at one time" This resume example shows how this skill is used by litigation paralegals: "required excellent organizational and teamwork skills, a high level of accuracy, attention to detail, and proofreading skills. "
  • As part of the litigation paralegal description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "research skills." A litigation paralegal resume included this snippet: "paralegals gather facts of the case and research information on relevant laws and regulations to prepare drafts of legal documents for attorneys and help them prepare for a case." This skill could be useful in this scenario: "conducted research regarding commercial litigation, specifically environmental land conditions and contract languages. "
  • See the full list of litigation paralegal skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a litigation paralegal. We found that 57.5% of litigation paralegals have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 5.2% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most litigation paralegals have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every seven litigation paralegals were not college graduates.

    The litigation paralegals who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied legal support services and political science, while a small population of litigation paralegals studied business and criminal justice.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a litigation paralegal. We've found that most litigation paralegal resumes include experience from Robert Half, Splunk, and Frontline Source Group. Of recent, Robert Half had 37 positions open for litigation paralegals. Meanwhile, there are 23 job openings at Splunk and 22 at Frontline Source Group.

    If you're interested in companies where litigation paralegals make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Google, PayPal, and Kane Russell Coleman Logan. We found that at Google, the average litigation paralegal salary is $116,179. Whereas at PayPal, litigation paralegals earn roughly $104,164. And at Kane Russell Coleman Logan, they make an average salary of $103,170.

    View more details on litigation paralegal salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a litigation paralegal include Law Office, Pauls, and Robert Half. These three companies were found to hire the most litigation paralegals from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious litigation paralegals are:

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    What Law Internships Do

    A law internship is a program that is designed for law students to give them valuable insight into the professional lives of attorneys and judges. Law interns need to understand and observe what being a lawyer involves. They are required to conduct research and present it to their superiors for case preparations. They must assist their senior lawyers in organizing all of their legal paperwork that includes case files, evidence records, and legal documents. Law interns are also required to be present in the courtroom to assist lawyers and experience actual courtroom proceedings.

    We looked at the average litigation paralegal annual salary and compared it with the average of a law internship. Generally speaking, law interns receive $19,090 lower pay than litigation paralegals per year.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between litigation paralegals and law interns are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like litigation, law firm, and trial preparation.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A litigation paralegal responsibility is more likely to require skills like "discovery responses," "mediation," "excellent organizational," and "affidavits." Whereas a law internship requires skills like "legal memos," "legal intern," "intellectual property," and "law enforcement." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    On average, law interns reach similar levels of education than litigation paralegals. Law interns are 2.1% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 12.3% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Summer Associate?

    Summer associates are law students hired seasonally by law firms. The aim is for future lawyers to be exposed to the practical aspects of a firm. Typically, this program lasts for nine weeks, beginning in May and running through July. Summer associates are expected to be friendly and kind to people, preserve company reputation, support other associates, and perform legal tasks appropriately.

    Next up, we have the summer associate profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a litigation paralegal annual salary. In fact, summer associates salary difference is $16,135 lower than the salary of litigation paralegals per year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Litigation paralegals and summer associates both include similar skills like "litigation," "law firm," and "trial preparation" on their resumes.

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, litigation paralegal responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "discovery responses," "mediation," "excellent organizational," and "affidavits." Meanwhile, a summer associate might be skilled in areas such as "first hand," "client facing," "team work," and "financial models." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    On average, summer associates earn a lower salary than litigation paralegals. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, summer associates earn the most pay in the professional industry with an average salary of $86,415. Whereas, litigation paralegals have higher paychecks in the professional industry where they earn an average of $64,050.

    In general, summer associates study at higher levels of education than litigation paralegals. They're 6.7% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 12.3% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Criminal Justice Lawyer Compares

    A criminal justice lawyer is responsible for representing clients in court with criminal charges and defends them according to legal requirements and procedures. Criminal justice lawyers analyze the case by undergoing in-depth research and investigation that would support settlement claims. They reference laws and state regulations to identify the clients' options for case resolution. A criminal justice lawyer must have extensive knowledge of the legal industry, as well as possessing excellent critical-thinking skills to strategize appeals and negotiate pleas on trials.

    Let's now take a look at the criminal justice lawyer profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than litigation paralegals with a $8,507 difference per year.

    While looking through the resumes of several litigation paralegals and criminal justice lawyers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "legal research," "subpoenas," and "powerpoint," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from litigation paralegals resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "litigation," "law firm," "trial preparation," and "discovery responses." But a criminal justice lawyer might have skills like "criminal justice," "semester," "public safety," and "syllabus."

    Interestingly enough, criminal justice lawyers earn the most pay in the professional industry, where they command an average salary of $50,030. As mentioned previously, litigation paralegals highest annual salary comes from the professional industry with an average salary of $64,050.

    Criminal justice lawyers typically study at higher levels compared with litigation paralegals. For example, they're 8.1% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.4% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Legal Administrator

    The job of legal administrative assistants is to provide support to lawyers and paralegals. They typically perform legal research, manage schedules, and draft legal-related documents. Other duties include interpreting laws, regulations, and rulings in legal documents, obtaining information from other agencies or organizations, and preparing management and legal reports. In addition, legal administrative assistants are responsible for updating and maintaining databases and ensuring to provide effective administrative assistance. They are also expected to schedule client meetings and court hearings.

    Now, we'll look at legal administrators, who generally average a lower pay when compared to litigation paralegals annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $11,286 per year.

    While both litigation paralegals and legal administrators complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like litigation, law firm, and trial preparation, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a litigation paralegal might have more use for skills like "discovery responses," "mediation," "excellent organizational," and "affidavits." Meanwhile, some legal administrators might include skills like "veterans," "data entry," "in-house counsel," and "life insurance" on their resume.

    Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The government industry tends to pay more for legal administrators with an average of $54,616. While the highest litigation paralegal annual salary comes from the professional industry.

    In general, legal administrators reach similar levels of education when compared to litigation paralegals resumes. Legal administrators are 3.9% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 1.2% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.