Legal Research is Usually the First Thing That Gets Skimped Out On
Nothing Here is Intended as Legal Advice
to Draft Law and Motion
Engage & Persuade Using Trial Theme/Story
Excellent Demographics for Opportunity
Most Felonies Can Never Be Expunged
Trial Theme and Story Presentation
Paralegals use their legal skills and education to organize documents into a usable format for attorneys by setting up and maintaining files organized by litigation sub-categories of pleadings, discovery, legal research and correspondence. Scanning and photocopying documents and organizing into digital files is an art and a science. Faxing and emailing is integral to a law firm’s practice. Propounding and responding to discovery involves factual findings, database interface and client liaison for effective special interrogatories, requests for production of documents and requests for admissions. Drafting clear, concise correspondence from an experienced paralegals perspective views every letter or document created as a possible motion exhibit. Depositions involve handling expert witnesses, exhibits and law firm calendaring. Find and retain expert witnesses and assist with drafting doctor, forensic accountants and engineer declarations. Drafting motions requires online and law library legal research, pulling relevant documents as exhibits and drafting law and motion by applying legal authority to facts in order to persuade the court. Filing pleadings at court and serving the opposing parties. A paralegal is a law firm’s ground level legal advocate. Act as liaison between internal departments. Trial preparation, presentations, voir dire and jury instructions. Sit at the counsel table and take notes on witness testimony and jury reactions. Paralegals are professional problem solvers who gain valuable real-life working legal experience by working hard alongside experienced attorneys during all phases of litigation practice and procedure from pre-trial, post-trial and the appellate process. The main tool of paralegals is the laptop computer as a portal to the world of fast-paced information gathering, processing and management. Paralegals are self-motivated life-long learners who thrive on change and challenge. Great paralegals learn how to think and act like great attorneys. Information is power and a paralegals job duty number one is to apply statutes, codes and case law to evidence to create compelling persuassion.
Retaining a contract paralegal for discovery and trial preparation is an economical way to staff the digital law firm of today. The Los Angeles paralegal market offers both contract paralegals and paralegals looking for regular permanent positions, so why not “test drive” a contract before you hire? You can also try out a paralegal on a temporary to permanent basis using a legal placement agency. If you are only going to trial once every three years you don’t need an expensive trial exhibit software program or a big-budget animation from a digital production house. You need a seasoned trial paralegal who can give your closing the human touch by putting your exhibits on the courtroom overhead projector. Juries want to be treated warmly, not bored and murdered with PowerPoint bullets of needless exhibits that do nothing to emotionally engage them with your information.
How do you know if you will really like that new paralegal you want to hire? How do you know if your new hire is going to be the right person for your office or just another big hit to your unemployment insurance or next year’s disability claim? Will your new hire be able to learn new procedures, technology and facts on the spot without caving in?
Litigation is difficult for the hardiest of litigation support staff even under normal conditions. What will happen when that case you thought was going to settle unexpectedly goes out to trial? Who will step in to take on the extra work of joint exhibit lists and jury instructions?
I have just finished working on a federal trial with a celebrity attorney from the O.J. Simpson murder trial who let proposed jury instructions on employee safe harbor go to the very last day of trial. The entire courtroom gets irritated if counsel is slow with procedure.
I have sat at the counsel table for a Los Angeles Superior Court trial in Santa Monica and two U.S. District Court Trials, one in Riverside and a Medicare Fraud trial at the Roybal Center in Downtown LA.
Divorce paralegal or legal document assistants (LDA’s) are bonded for approximately $500 every two-years by a surety company and then registered for another two years by the County of Los Angeles for approximately another $213.00. I will post you with the exact amount next week when I go to Norwalk, California to renew my LDA permit with my UCLA Extension Paralegal Certificate. I will try and shoot some YouTube video when I am renewing my LDA registration in Norwalk, CA.
A good divorce paralegal keeps notes on the filing idiosyncrasies of the LA Superior Court Clerks. Paralegal divorce stipulation and orders, marital agreements, court forms and other documents can be legally filled out with assistance from a LDA. Legal document assistants such as “We The People” mostly do family law court forms such as the FL-165 Declaration for Default or Uncontested Divorce, FL-182 Divorce Checklist and other forms that the consumer chooses herself.
The LDA cannot select which divorce forms to use or give advice about what the correct divorce package contains. The non-attorney divorce client must learn about divorce law on the Internet and then inform the LDA which court forms are required pursuant to the Family Law form FL-182.
Divorce paralegals should be really good with client contact and turning around an unhappy customer. One question many sales managers will ask on a job interview is how you turned about an unsatisfied customer. I just responded that most customers are unsatisfied because what they need to find is a connection with what can be real in their immediate lives, such as the infinite small still voice of God. Divorce paralegals should be people persons who enjoy helping people who are in emotional and financial turmoil and despair.
My own divorce was a tremendously healing and transformational experience. I took two years to be alone and ponder the spiritual and eternal aspects of my divorce. I stayed single for two years before I dated after my divorce.
Paralegal Certification is given by the school the paralegal graduates from. This is a paralegal certification in litigation given by the University of California at Los Angeles Extension. The UCLA Extension Paralegal Program is a very marketable paralegal certification.
Every paralegal certification should be accompanied by a good BA Degree. Mine is in Radio-TV-Film from California State University Northridge. Having a BA or BS is not required however it is usually considered the basic minimum academic credentials of any decent contract litigation paralegal in the marketplace today. Academic background is as important for contract litigation paralegals as it is for attorneys and partners at law firms. I am grateful I ended up with the basic academic minimum to function in today’s world.
Your paralegal certification is your branding of your career. Always to to the best school you can afford. It would be better to wait one year to get into the UCLA Extension program than to jump right in with a mediocre paralegal diploma mill. A paralegal diploma mill is a school that is more interested in selling you an expensive paralegal degree than with providing you with a real world paralegal education.
The UCLA Extension Paralegal Certification program provided professors who were attorneys working in LA Law. The class assignments were real world paralegal assignments drafting complaints for damages and legal briefs & memos. The UCLA Extension Paralegal Certification left me ready to go out and get my first real world paralegal job. I went to work as a law and motion paralegal at a workers’ compensation law firm across from the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. I did the third party civil litigation related to the workers’ compensation claims. The personal injury attorney I used to work for voluntarily resigned his law license back in the 1980’s. This particular PI lawyer used to advertise on Lakers radio and was quite well known at that time. It was an incredible earn while I learned experience.
I used the Rutter Group’s Practice Guide to draft my first motion as a paralegal. I drafted a motion for preference based upon the plaintiff’s age of 75 years old. My first moments in a law library were my first time ever getting paid to be in a library. I knew I had arrived. Getting paid to be in a library is part of who and what I am.
The Greek suffix “para” means “next to” or “along side”. Therefore a paralegal is someone who works next to or along side a legal professional or lawyer. A paralegal works along side an attorney-at-law.
6450. (a) “Paralegal” means a person who holds himself or herself
out to be a paralegal, who is qualified by education, training, or
work experience, who either contracts with or is employed by an
attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency, or other
entity, and who performs substantial legal work under the direction
and supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California,
as defined in Section 6060, or an attorney practicing law in the
federal courts of this state, that has been specifically delegated by
the attorney to him or her. Tasks performed by a paralegal include,
but are not limited to, case planning, development, and management;
legal research; interviewing clients; fact gathering and retrieving
information; drafting and analyzing legal documents; collecting,
compiling, and utilizing technical information to make an independent
decision and recommendation to the supervising attorney; and
representing clients before a state or federal administrative agency
if that representation is permitted by statute, court rule, or
administrative rule or regulation.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a paralegal shall not do the
(1) Provide legal advice.
(2) Represent a client in court.
(3) Select, explain, draft, or recommend the use of any legal
document to or for any person other than the attorney who directs and
supervises the paralegal.
(4) Act as a runner or capper, as defined in Sections 6151 and
(5) Engage in conduct that constitutes the unlawful practice of
(6) Contract with, or be employed by, a natural person other than
an attorney to perform paralegal services.
(7) In connection with providing paralegal services, induce a
person to make an investment, purchase a financial product or
service, or enter a transaction from which income or profit, or both,
purportedly may be derived.
(8) Establish the fees to charge a client for the services the
paralegal performs, which shall be established by the attorney who
supervises the paralegal’s work. This paragraph does not apply to
fees charged by a paralegal in a contract to provide paralegal
services to an attorney, law firm, corporation, governmental agency,
or other entity as provided in subdivision (a).
(c) A paralegal shall possess at least one of the following:
(1) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program approved by
the American Bar Association.
(2) A certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a
degree from, a postsecondary institution that requires the successful
completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in
law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or
regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for
Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
(3) A baccalaureate degree or an advanced degree in any subject, a
minimum of one year of law-related experience under the supervision
of an attorney who has been an active member of the State Bar of
California for at least the preceding three years or who has
practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the
preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney
stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks.
(4) A high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, a
minimum of three years of law-related experience under the
supervision of an attorney who has been an active member of the State
Bar of California for at least the preceding three years or who has
practiced in the federal courts of this state for at least the
preceding three years, and a written declaration from this attorney
stating that the person is qualified to perform paralegal tasks. This
experience and training shall be completed no later than December
(d) Every two years, commencing January 1, 2007, any person that
is working as a paralegal shall be required to certify completion of
four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in legal ethics
and four hours of mandatory continuing legal education in either
general law or in an area of specialized law. All continuing legal
education courses shall meet the requirements of Section 6070.
Certification of these continuing education requirements shall be
made with the paralegal’s supervising attorney. The paralegal shall
be responsible for keeping a record of the paralegal’s
(e) A paralegal does not include a nonlawyer who provides legal
services directly to members of the public, or a legal document
assistant or unlawful detainer assistant as defined in Section 6400,
unless the person is a person described in subdivision (a).
(f) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2004.
6451. It is unlawful for a paralegal to perform any services for a
consumer except as performed under the direction and supervision of
the attorney, law firm, corporation, government agency, or other
entity that employs or contracts with the paralegal. Nothing in this
chapter shall prohibit a paralegal who is employed by an attorney,
law firm, governmental agency, or other entity from providing
services to a consumer served by one of these entities if those
services are specifically allowed by statute, case law, court rule,
or federal or state administrative rule or regulation. “Consumer”
means a natural person, firm, association, organization, partnership,
business trust, corporation, or public entity.
6452. (a) It is unlawful for a person to identify himself or
herself as a paralegal on any advertisement, letterhead, business
card or sign, or elsewhere unless he or she has met the
qualifications of subdivision (c) of Section 6450 and performs all
services under the direction and supervision of an attorney who is an
active member of the State Bar of California or an attorney
practicing law in the federal courts of this state who is responsible
for all of the services performed by the paralegal. The business
card of a paralegal shall include the name of the law firm where he
or she is employed or a statement that he or she is employed by or
contracting with a licensed attorney.
(b) An attorney who uses the services of a paralegal is liable for
any harm caused as the result of the paralegal’s negligence,
misconduct, or violation of this chapter.
6453. A paralegal is subject to the same duty as an attorney
specified in subdivision (e) of Section 6068 to maintain inviolate
the confidentiality, and at every peril to himself or herself to
preserve the attorney-client privilege, of a consumer for whom the
paralegal has provided any of the services described in subdivision
(a) of Section 6450.
6454. The terms “paralegal,” “legal assistant,” “attorney
assistant,” “freelance paralegal,” “independent paralegal,” and
“contract paralegal” are synonymous for purposes of this chapter.
6455. (a) Any consumer injured by a violation of this chapter may
file a complaint and seek redress in superior court for injunctive
relief, restitution, and damages. Attorney’s fees shall be awarded in
this action to the prevailing plaintiff.
(b) Any person who violates the provisions of Section 6451 or 6452
is guilty of an infraction for the first violation, which is
punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to two thousand five
hundred dollars ($2,500) as to each consumer with respect to whom a
violation occurs, and is guilty of a misdemeanor for the second and
each subsequent violation, which is punishable upon conviction by a
fine of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) as to each
consumer with respect to whom a violation occurs, or imprisonment in
a county jail for not more than one year, or by both that fine and
imprisonment. Any person convicted of a violation of this section
shall be ordered by the court to pay restitution to the victim
pursuant to Section 1202.4 of the Penal Code.
6456. An individual employed by the state as a paralegal, legal
assistant, legal analyst, or similar title, is exempt from the
provisions of this chapter.
What is Los Angeles? The City of Los Angeles is a state of mind. Los Angeles is like seven cities in one stretching as it does from the Mojave Desert through the Hollywood Hills to the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Where are the paralegal jobs in Los Angeles? The paralegal jobs in LA are available online and in your creativity just like LA itself. Big, creative, and spread out.
The LA legal market is just as exciting. The jobs and adventure are all still there. However the hot combat pay of decades ago is gone for now. Paralegal wages in LA have been stagnate for over ten years now. I love being a paralegal I just don’t like the economics of working in litigation. The money trade off for the stress factor is not there anymore. Litigation used to be a really hot way to make your living working in downtown Los Angeles and Century City.
Los Angeles is an idea, an idea is what you make of it and Los Angeles is an idea. After my Medicare Fraud case involving DME, durable medical equipment providers I met a former DME provider who was getting out of the Medicare business. I met him in a fast asian food restaurant on the borderline of the ghetto. I was in the junkyard checking out the remains of my old 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan. It was stolen and stripped for parts. The Department of Transportation LADOT picked up the carcass on some kind of parking violations. The van was towed to Al’s Towing in South Central LA. I went and viewed it as if I was identifying the body of a homicide victim for the LAPD. The vehicle was stripped of most electrical parts including the fuses and spark plugs. Mercury Insurance made it easy for me to walk away from my car and get back on the bus.
This Paralegal Los Angeles website is my creation of opportunity and excitement in my contract litigation life. People say I am at the center of attention with my litigation paralegal websites for attorneys and law firms in West LA. I am a heavy discovery machine for personal injury and breach of contract litigation. I also have experience in living trust litigation and attorney fee litigation for family law services.
For $25.00/per hour you can have an experienced contract litigation paralegal formulate and implement a discovery plan for your case. Trial preparation begins with the initial legal research. Retain a paralegal to brief your case and prepare a discovery plan early.
Dean McAdams is a litigation paralegal doing discovery for law firms in West LA. He is not an attorney and does not give legal advice. Dean@LegalNoodle.com – Mobile: (310) 944-2055