#All

What are the legal documents most Paralegals can create?

By Bamidele Kolawole

The paralegal profession has become an integral part of the legal industry, playing a vital role in the delivery of legal services. Paralegals work behind the scenes, providing essential support to lawyers by handling clerical and research tasks, including document preparation and review, legal research, investigations, and fact-checking.

Obada Toyosi Charles Esq

Paralegals in Nigeria can assist lawyers by preparing a variety of legal documents, including:

 Litigation Documents

– Complaints and other documents that initiate lawsuits.

– Interrogatories and other discovery requests.

– Motions and other court filings.

 Transactional Documents

– Contracts and agreements.

– Deeds and other real estate documents.

– Business documents like articles of incorporation and bylaws

– Wills, trusts, and other estate planning instruments.

 General Legal Documents.

– Memorandums and legal briefs.

– Legal forms and templates.

– Correspondence with clients and opposing counsel.

Paralegals draft these documents based on information gathered from clients and other sources.

They use templates and forms to expedite the drafting process. The documents are then reviewed by the supervising attorney before being finalized and filed with the court or sent to the appropriate parties.

While paralegals play a key role in preparing legal documents, they cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court without the supervision of a licensed attorney.

The specific tasks paralegals can perform may vary somewhat based on the jurisdiction and the paralegal’s level of experience and training.

Oluwanbe Adefehinti Esq

The paralegal profession has become an integral part of the legal industry, playing a vital role in the delivery of legal services. Paralegals work behind the scenes, providing essential support to lawyers by handling clerical and research tasks, including document preparation and review, legal research, investigations, and fact-checking.

They also assist with filing and serving court documents, monitoring court processes, and organizing exhibits. These tasks significantly ease the workload of legal practitioners, enabling them to focus on more complex legal matters.

While paralegals in countries like the USA, England, Wales, Scotland, Canada, Japan, and South Africa perform advanced legal tasks, their counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, are limited to more basic tasks.

This is largely due to the saturated legal profession, which leaves little room for paralegals to fully utilize their skills.

 Moreover, there is a lack of appreciation for the value paralegals bring to law firms, and how their skills can be effectively leveraged to enhance legal services.

The paralegal profession, much like paramedics in the medical field, has become an integral part of the legal industry and will continue to adapt and grow alongside the evolving legal profession.

As the global population, including Nigeria, experiences rapid growth, the demand for legal services will inevitably increase.

While lawyers are poised to meet this demand, the crucial role of paralegals in supporting legal practitioners to deliver these services to the expanding population cannot be overstated.

Paralegals are essential in ensuring the efficient and effective delivery of legal services, and their importance will only continue to grow as the legal landscape evolves.

Funmilayo Olagunju Esq.

A paralegal is a person who assists a Lawyer in duties related to the practice of Law but who is not a licensed Legal Practitioner. It could also mean a Legal assistance.

Technically, preparation of Legal documents which is meant to be franked by a Legal Practitioner is not the work of a paralegal. Creating such document would amount to impersonation.

Paralegals can draft documents such as basic contracts, undertaking, Memorandum of Understanding and will.

A contract drafted by a paralegal would contain the terms and obligations of all the parties to the agreement.

An undertaking is a written pledge or promise to do a certain thing. A paralegal may draft an undertaking for a person making such to append his/her signature.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a nonbinding agreement that outlines the intention of the parties.

A paralegal draft a will to outline the desire of the Testator.

The role of a paralegal in preparing Legal documents is like that of a person trained to administer First Aid treatment. A first aid treatment is for prompt intervention and never a substitute for standard medical treatment in deserving cases.

Ifeoluwa Ayodapo-Ajayi Esq

The term “paralegal” and legal assistant was first known and used in the late 1960’s. They were mostly trained legal secretaries who assisted trained lawyers in performing some less critical duties like preparing documents and dealing with clients. In most cases, people mistake them for lawyers because of how detailed and smart they become overtime.

Notwithstanding their competence and importance in the running of a firm,Paralegals can not perform the role of a lawyer or practice by themselves, they can only work under the supervision of an attorney. Their major task is being a support system for the lawyers.

Duties of a paralegal:

They conduct legal research to ascertain relevant laws and regulations governing a matter.

Draft legal documents such as deeds, wills, courts documents, contracts, and pleadings.

They organize and maintain case files, managing deadlines and ensuring that a lawyer has his work schedule tight.

Conduct clients’ interviews and consultation.

They are not permitted by law to independently give legal advice and they must adhere to clients’ confidentiality and avoid conflict of interest.

Performance of administrative work.

Samples of documents a paralegal can prepare.

Legal Correspondence such as demand letters and cover letters.

Simple contracts and employment contracts.

Deeds such as lease agreement, mortgage documents.

Articles.

Wills and codicils.

Case summaries.

Divorce petitions and responses.

The duties and role of paralegal cannot be overemphasized as they enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of legal services.

In summary, a paralegal is a vital member of the legal team, providing indispensable support to attorneys and ensuring the smooth operation of legal processes while adhering to the legal and ethical boundaries of their role.

Adedeji O Adetula Esq

A paralegal is a person who has some education in law and assists a lawyer in duties related to the practice of law but who is not a licensed attorney. It is referred to as a legal assistant. It is a non-lawyer who is legally qualified through experience or special training and licensed to provide limited legal services.

A paralegal works under the supervision of a lawyer and performs tasks such as legal research, drafting legal documents, and assisting with client communication.

A paralegal cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court, they play an important role in the legal profession by providing support to lawyers and helping to ensure that legal matters are handled efficiently and effectively. See Bryan A. G. 2004 Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition.

In Nigeria, paralegals are classified into two (a) paralegals who are attached to lawyers and perform delegated solicitor’s duties (b) community paralegals who perform first aid legal services for communities. However, the former is what is common to Nigerian law firm and it is categorized into the following;

(a) Litigation Officers: They carry out the filing and service of court processes or any other official documents.

(b) Legal Secretaries: They assist lawyers by attending to the secretarial, technical, administrative and clerical work of the firm.

(c) Legal Interns/Externs; These are law students who are yet to become lawyers but have a theoretical knowledge of the law and are seeking practical legal knowledge in a Nigerian law firm.

(d) Law Librarians; Systematically organize the Firm’s law books in the library, monitor the movement of law books in and out of the library, keep accurate record of the Firm’s law books in the library and within the entire office if virtual/dis aggregated libraries are adopted.

(e) Legal Record Officers: Administer and manage the records system of the Law Firm, ensuring that all records are systematically kept to ensure safety, accuracy, easy retrieval and reference.

It is important to state that in most legal firms, a paralegal performs all the highlighted roles.

Also, it is a criminal offence for a non-lawyer to perform the duties of a lawyer in Nigeria.

A paralegal or non-lawyer cannot prepare legal documents in Nigeria. Any document prepared by a non-lawyer is invalid, null and void. See Sections 2, 22, 24 and 25 of the Legal Practitioners Act.

David Ebriku Esq.

The Paralegal profession without doubt has grown to become part and parcel of the legal industry and its importance to the legal industry cannot be overemphasized. Modern Paralegals now feature significantly (albeit behind the scenes) in the delivery of legal services.

Paralegals support lawyers by providing clerical and research services including document preparation and review; legal or procedural research, investigations, and fact checking for counsel towards trial preparation.

They also assist lawyers to file and serve court processes, follow up on court’s internal activities and processes as it affects filed cases, organize court processes and exhibits for the purpose of filing at the court’s registry.

There is no gainsaying that all these subsidiary tasks performed by paralegals combine to make life a lot easier for legal practitioners in practicing their profession.

Whereas paralegals perform some elevated legal tasks for legal practitioners in other climes like the USA, England, Wales, Scotland, Canada, Japan, and South Africa;1 in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria, they perform much less sophisticated and reduced tasks in assisting lawyers.

This is not unconnected to the fact that the legal profession is already saturated and there is little or no room for paralegals to fully optimize their potentials.

There also appears to be a low appreciation of the usefulness of paralegals and how their skill set can be effectively deployed within the law firm.

There are a number of varying definitions for who a paralegal is from different schools of thought and organizations/associations including the American Bar Association.

However, core to these definitions is the fact that paralegals basically are persons qualified by education, training, or work experience to perform delegated or subsidiary tasks of a legal practitioner.

Nicholas Aladejana Esq

Paralegals can perform a wide range of tasks under the supervision of a lawyer, including conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, organizing and maintaining files, and communicating with clients.

They play a crucial role in supporting lawyers and ensuring the efficient operation of legal matters. While paralegals cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court, they are valuable members of legal teams in law firms, corporations, government agencies, and other organizations.

Paralegals can create various legal documents under the supervision of an attorney, including but not limited to:

Drafting, reviewing, and editing contracts for businesses, real estate transactions, employment agreements, etc.

Assisting in the preparation of legal briefs for court cases, outlining legal arguments and supporting facts.

Drafting complaints, answers, motions, and other court filings.

Preparing and organizing documents for discovery, including requests for production, interrogatories, and requests for admission.

 Drafting wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents.

Assisting in the preparation of deeds, mortgages, leases, and other real estate-related documents.

Helping with the formation of corporations, partnerships, and LLCs, and drafting corporate resolutions and minutes.

Drafting letters to clients, opposing counsel, and other parties involved in legal matters.

Completing standard court forms required for various legal proceedings.

 Conducting legal research to support attorneys in case preparation and strategy.

These are just a few examples, and the specific documents a paralegal can create may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the supervising attorney’s guidance.

Adeola Turton, Esq

In Nigeria, paralegals can draft legal documents under certain conditions and legal authorities. These conditions typically involve working under the supervision of a qualified lawyer or being registered with a recognized paralegal association.

Legal authorities for this practice stem from statutes such as the Legal Practitioners Act, which allows for delegation of certain tasks to non-lawyers under supervision.

The lawyer oversees the work to ensure it complies with legal standards and ethical requirements.

Additionally, professional bodies like the Nigerian Bar Association may provide guidelines that permit paralegals to assist in document drafting within defined parameters.

While paralegals may be involved in document preparation, it’s essential to note that they cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court independently.

Their work must be supervised by a qualified lawyer who maintains responsibility for the accuracy and legality of the documents produced.

Share
What are the legal documents most Paralegals can create?

‘We’ ll bring pipe borne water to

What are the legal documents most Paralegals can create?

Surrogacy in Nigeria

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *