Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society
Overview: Paralegals help lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. They use digital technology for managing and organizing the increasing amount of documents and data collected during a case. Paralegals’ specific duties often vary depending on the size of the law firm and the area of law in which they work. The following are examples of types of paralegals and legal assistants:
Corporate paralegals often help lawyers prepare employee contracts, shareholder agreements, stock-option plans, and companies’ annual financial reports. Corporate paralegals may monitor and review government regulations to ensure that the corporation is aware of new legal requirements.
Litigation paralegals maintain documents received from clients, conduct research for lawyers, retrieve and organize evidence for use at depositions and trials, and draft settlement agreements.
Paralegals may also specialize in other legal areas, such as personal injury, criminal law, employee benefits, intellectual property, bankruptcy, immigration, family law, and real estate.
Unlike the work of other administrative and legal support staff employed in a law firm, the paralegal’s work is often billed to the client. Paralegals may have frequent interactions with clients and third-party vendors. In addition, experienced paralegals may assume supervisory responsibilities, such as overseeing team projects or delegating work to other paralegals.
Geographic competency is important for paralegals. Laws can change dramatically from state to state, county to county, or even city to city. Cultural norms and ways of interacting in a legal environment also vary by location. A good paralegal will be aware of the unique geographic environment in which she or he works.
Geographers at work: Legal geographer, cultural geographer, economic geographer, business geographer, human geographers
Recommended College Courses: Legal geography, human geography, physical geography, business geography, urban geography, economic geography, cultural geography
Skills: Understanding of law, business, cultural, language, and economic difference influenced by geography; map reading and interpretation; computer and database systems; critical thinking; teamwork
Occupation Group: Legal
Learn more about Paralegal from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-2
Written by Christopher Anderson