The paralegal role has come a long way, evolving in scope and depth over the last few years.
Today, the paralegal has a distinctly unique job. With the rising number of paralegal degrees online, the profession has flourished and extended beyond skills in spreadsheet and word processing.
One crucial duty is to research and identify expert witnesses, who end up being decisive factors in many cases. As the liaison between the lawyer and the expert witness, a paralegal facilitates interviews in an ethical and timely manner – in other words, they make everything easier.
Here are some areas where you, as a paralegal, can utilize and apply your knowledge and experience:
Expert Witness Selection
A paralegal meets with the lawyer to determine the kind of expert witness they need for the case. They can seek advice and recommendations from colleagues or consult the firm’s database to guide their selection.
This is also where the paralegal can apply their tech-savvy-ness. By doing a general search on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and specialized national databases, they gain deeper insights into the case.
Evaluation of Qualification
The paralegal is responsible for gathering the expert’s background, training, and field of specialization by requesting for the expert’s curriculum vitae. Before they retain the expert, the firm or the attorney may carry out conflict checks to see if there are no conflicts of interest and other ethical disagreements.
The paralegal also has to discuss the expert’s qualifications, fees, and background with the client. Without the client’s express approval, they can’t retain the expert.
Commitment to Ethical Limitations
Ethically speaking, the paralegal can’t provide any legal opinion regarding the case when interacting with the expert witness. They may only address concerns and questions related to the legal strategy and analysis to the attorney or the trial team.
Litigations are difficult by nature, but a paralegal can better organize the process with effective communication and advanced critical thinking skills. With these specialized roles, paralegals will continue on as integral members of the legal team.