If your general counsel is straining under the weight of the work they have taken on, it might be time to think about bringing some extra help. Although you may have an actual need for another attorney, it might be more beneficial to start searching for paralegal services or a legal assistant instead. Both roles can help with all kinds of work, freeing up attorneys for tasks that better fit their talents and billing rates.
A paralegal assists the attorneys by generating original work such as research and legal analysis, writing various legal documents, and handling interactions with courts, process servers, or other legal stakeholders. A legal assistant handles more day-to-day administrative tasks but also has experience in a legal setting and standard legal processes. There can be some overlap between the activities of these two roles, but paralegals generally have higher-level skills (and commensurate compensation). What should you look for in the right paralegal? Look for someone who understands the role and has been doing it long enough to know the basic terminology of the legal profession, possibly as well as some specialized concepts if your team has a narrow focus—like artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning. Paralegals have to be organized enough to keep all the administrative tasks straight, correct, and on time. This often means having to juggle multiple priorities without dropping any of them. A paralegal should be the glue that keeps all the attorneys, legal assistants, and other roles together.
These days, legal departments are finding that virtual teams can work just as well as teams that are all in the same place. Remote paralegals, in particular, bring advantages to legal teams. Unlike attorneys, paralegals are generally not constrained to working only within certain jurisdictions. Remote paralegals require no on-site office space, IT equipment, or other overhead. Remote paralegals often work through staffing agencies like NetworkESC, eliminating the tax and benefit costs associated with in-house employees. If you’ve never hired a remote paralegal before, you can save yourself time by working with NetworkESC professionals.