Job Description for a Criminal Law Paralegal
The daily news is saturated with stories about criminal acts that fall under the legal umbrella of Criminal Law. Television programs dramatize the “I want to talk to my attorney!” phase of a police interrogation. But, what happens after that call? A suspect who is charged with an alleged criminal act has the right to an attorney…and is innocent until proven guilty. Let’s learn a bit more about this area of law.
Criminal Law – A Definition
Criminal Law is a body of rules and statutes that defines conduct the government prohibits because it threatens and harms public safety. These rules and statutes establish the punishments that fit the commission of these criminal acts, as well as the procedure of how suspects are investigated, charged and tried.
Criminal Law Practice Areas and Criminal Charges
The list of criminal acts and charges is extensive. Following is a partial list of criminal charges that an attorney may be retained to defend:
- Child Abuse
- Criminal Sex Abuse/Sexual Misconduct/Lewd Acts
- Domestic Violence
- Assault and Battery
- Drug Possession
- Computer Crime/Identity Theft
- Probation Violation
Role of a Criminal Law Paralegal
The specific duties of a paralegal depend on the focus of the law firm. A Criminal Law paralegal may perform the following tasks, under the supervision of an attorney:
- Interview witnesses and relevant personnel
- Perform legal research
- Prepare legal documents (complaints, motions, orders, answers, pleadings, subpoenas)
- Obtain information from law enforcements agencies, or other sources
- Submit legal documents to court or agency
- Organize and maintain case file
- Maintain case calendar (filing, hearing and trial dates, scheduling conferences, interviews)
- Organize key evidence for trial
- Assist in trial preparation (compile trial notebooks, jury instructions, witness/exhibit lists)
- Communicate with opposing counsel regarding discovery, motions and interview dates
Good news! Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is expected to grow by 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Law firms will continue to be the major hirer of paralegals. Does this area of law appeal to you?
The job outlook is good, but can you complete in the job market? What you need to be highly competitive:
The AIPS Advantage!
- Train you through our online paralegal courses
- Prepare you for the NALA CLA Exam, if you meet the NALA qualifications
- Provide CLE specialization opportunities