In addition, paralegals are able to specialize in certain areas such as criminal law, family law, real estate law and immigration law. with materials for educational services via telephone or text message. Unlike the paralegal job description, the responsibilities of legal assistants are much more along the lines of administrative work. If there is a distinction, it is between law clerk and legal assistant/paralegal - with law clerks doing more legal work (research, drafting) as opposed to administrative work (filing, maintaining and organising matters etc). For example, a paralegal in Ontario can go to court for simple matters. Education. Further complicating matters is the fact that while the term “legal assistant” has historically been used to refer to paralegals, the titles are synonymous according to CA law [B & P 6450] Education Levels Required for Each Profession If you are looking for a lawyer or paralegal, fill out the form on the side of this page. It can take anywhere from 2-4 years depending on the degree type. The ABA defines both positions as follows: "A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible." However, some attorneys consider only assistants who have a degree to be a paralegal… A legal assistant during case preparation is usually the one who will organize important files for the lawyer to review. What is the difference between a paralegal and a legal assistant? Because they sound similar, it can be easy to confuse paralegal and legal studies. Both of the professions work in a law office or law firm. Although a Paralegal may also be known as a Legal Assistant, in some geographical areas, there is a difference between the two. The same is true for legal secretaries as it is for paralegals – – they do whatever is assigned to them to assist the attorney and keep the law office running smoothly. The jury may rest. While both can play important roles within the legal field, each has a different part to play. Paralegals without any experience may find it easier to get their foot in the door by working as a legal assistant. Legal document assistants can help people with filling out specific legal documents. They’ll also put together files for the attorney to take a gander at. Take the First Step Toward Your Criminal Justice Career Now! • A law clerk is a legal job that allows an individual to work under the supervision of an attorney in his office or work as an aide and assistant to a sitting judge in a court of law. Doesn’t anyone on this planet know that they are not the same thing, you scream to the skies in frustration. So, what’s being advertised on the interwebz probably isn’t going to reflect exactly in your paycheck. Legally, there is no difference between an Independent Paralegal and a Freelance Paralegal, as the laws governing the Paralegal, or Legal Assistant, profession make no distinction between job titles, and treat all non-attorney paralegals the same. Another difference between legal assistants and paralegals is the amount of compensation they qualify for. It is debatable but the Paralegal education is more … Whatever career choice you prefer, rest easy in your pick. The level of education is the very first basis that completely differentiates the two identities. Paralegals are not the same thing as legal assistants, and vice versa. Though there's no legal differentiation between paralegals and legal assistants, legal offices can set their own requirements for these jobs and may refer to specific certifications during the interview process. P.S., you can also specialize within the field. 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