Lawyers give people and companies legal advice and represent them in court if needed. Lawyers also conduct research and help clients with paperwork related to their cases. Besides lawyers and attorneys, other professionals help with the work involved in a legal claim. Here are four types of legal professionals.
The person involved in helping attorneys prepare for hearings and trials is called a paralegal. Also referred to as legal assistants, they handle more than clerical tasks to include legal research, drafting documents, and managing clients and cases. This profession requires excellent organizational and analytical skills. You may find paralegals in law offices in Rockville Maryland and around the country.
Judges preside over civil and criminal trials to ensure that the law is followed and the trial proceeds in an orderly fashion. Judges can be appointed or elected, and they are expected to remain fair and impartial throughout the trial, from questioning the witnesses to determining a verdict. Outside of the courtroom, judges meet with attorneys to examine cases and perform legal research.
The typical path to becoming a judge includes attending and graduating from law school with a Juris Doctorate, passing a state bar exam, completing a judicial clerkship under a practicing judge, practicing law for a couple of years, and finally seeking opportunities to become a judge through election or appointment. More specific requirements for becoming a judge may vary by state.
- Associate Attorneys
Associate attorneys are usually junior attorneys who have graduated from law school but have not yet made partner in their law firm, which means they work for but do not have any ownership in the firm. Associate attorneys may start out having fewer responsibilities but eventually perform much of the same tasks as partnered attorneys, like providing legal advice, representing clients in a court of law, and researching items related to a case.
Prosecutors are the people who file charges against someone suspected of a crime and represent the victims and the community where the crime occurred. Before a trial, prosecutors analyze the crime, prepare evidence, and perform research to be presented in a court of law. The end goal of the prosecutor is to ensure that justice is served and that the guilty party receives a sentence congruent with their crime.
If you need the advice of a lawyer, you may also be working with one of these four other legal professionals.