What does a day in the life of a paralegal look like? This is an interesting question – one that those considering law may be asking themselves. While the day-to-day functions of a paralegal can differ from firm to firm and person to person, every paralegal will regularly tend to some general tasks and obligations. In this article, we’ll go over these daily responsibilities and discuss the potential pros and cons of choosing to become a paralegal!

What Is a Paralegal?

Paralegals play an important part in any law office and the legal system as a whole. The American Bar Association (The ABA) defines a paralegal as: “A person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.” In other words, a paralegal acts as a legal assistant to their attorney partners. Paralegals, unlike lawyers, do not practice law, meaning they cannot give legal advice or act as advocates for clients.

Daily Responsibilities of a Paralegal

Again, the daily responsibilities of paralegals can vary from firm to firm, depending on the types of cases they handle and the expectations of their firm. Here are a few general responsibilities most paralegals will handle regularly, however:

  • Perform legal research
  • Fact-check
  • Manage cases
  • Ensure deadlines are met for client cases
  • Draft correspondence
  • Maintain communication with clients
  • Analyze and research data
  • File court documents

As we mentioned, a paralegal’s work is vital to the successful operation of a firm.

How to Become a Paralegal

A paralegal man

Does a day in the life of a paralegal intrigue you? To become a paralegal, you’ll have to complete some education. Thankfully, law school, post-graduate degrees, and passing the bar are not on the list of qualifications firms check for. Instead, obtaining a four or two-year paralegal studies degree from a university or community college should suffice. If you already have a degree in another field of study, you can obtain a post-graduate certificate to avoid a second college degree.

Once you’ve reached your desired level of education, you can begin applying for paralegal positions at firms that interest you and feel like a good fit!

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Paralegal

Choosing a career as a paralegal comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. Let’s explore the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision:


  • Lucrative Career: Paralegals often enjoy competitive salaries and the potential for career advancement.
  • Vital Role: Paralegals play a crucial role in the legal system, contributing to the success of law firms and assisting in the delivery of justice.
  • Varied Work: The daily tasks of a paralegal are diverse, from research to case management, ensuring your work remains engaging.
  • Education Accessibility: You don’t need a law degree to become a paralegal; a paralegal studies degree or certificate can suffice.
  • Stable Industry: The legal industry tends to remain stable even during economic downturns, offering job security.


  • Intensive Workload: Paralegals often face heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and long hours, which can lead to stress.
  • Limited Scope: Paralegals cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court, limiting the scope of their work.
  • Detail-Oriented: The job requires meticulous attention to detail, and errors can have serious consequences.
  • High Expectations: Expectations for accuracy and efficiency are high, with little room for mistakes.
  • Emotional Toll: Dealing with sensitive legal cases, such as family disputes or criminal matters, can be emotionally draining.

Ultimately, the decision to become a paralegal should align with your interests, strengths, and career goals. It’s a role that offers both challenges and rewards, making it essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully before embarking on this career path. 

Should I Become a Paralegal?

A paralegal woman shaking hands with a man

To decide whether or not you’d like to be a paralegal, you’ll need to do some research (get used to this because you’ll be doing plenty if you decide to enter the paralegal world!). Look into programs at local universities or community colleges, make a point of talking to multiple people who work in the industry, and hear out a variety of perspectives before you make your decision. 

You’ll need to be a detail-oriented person to be a good paralegal. If running over evidence with a fine-tooth comb and sifting through previous cases for relevant precedents doesn’t sound like your thing, then being a paralegal isn’t for you. You’ll also need to have excellent skills in reading and writing and, of course, an interest in law. Though creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking are helpful as a paralegal, most of the work you’ll do is analytical and evidence-driven. You’ll need to give consistent effort to your projects, as well. Most firms are busy year-round, with equally important cases falling back to back or even simultaneously. 

Although being a paralegal is hard work, the industry needs dedicated individuals driven by goals and ambition. Many paralegals love the work they do and the people they work with. At Esplin Weight, our staff of attorneys and paralegals make it a priority to provide the highest quality of counsel and expertise to our clients while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Our skilled team of paralegals is an integral part of our firm, which is why we care how a day in the life of a paralegal goes. If you are interested in joining our team, contact us here.