It happens almost once a week that we meet with a client that had their original divorce or custody paperwork drafted by a paralegal. The client thought they were saving time and money by hiring a paralegal to draw up their documents instead of coming to an attorney. While paralegals do offer appropriate services in some family law matters, hiring a paralegal instead of an attorney can actually end up costing you more money, more time and possibly your future.
Paralegals in Nevada do not necessarily have to have any specialized training or certification to advertise as a “paralegal.” Often, people who call themselves paralegals have never even worked for a law firm. Although there are some excellent paralegals, it can be difficult to find out who has the experience and training necessary to assist you.
In particular, paralegals in Nevada cannot provide legal advice though many often do. When consulting a paralegal, the caveat “buyer beware” or “you get what you pay for” applies. Many people who consult paralegals often receive inaccurate, inconsistent or just down right incorrect information. This often occurs because paralegals do not have the same training, education and knowledge of an attorney.
People often come to attorneys after they have hired a paralegal to do the work because the court documents are not prepared properly, causing unnecessary delays or additional fees. If you do hire a paralegal to assist you in drafting your court documents, make sure the forms are complete and accurately reflect your position in the case.
Because paralegals are not bound by the same ethical standards as attorneys, paralegals sometimes attempt to represent both sides in a case, which is a conflict of interest. This can lead to inaccurate advice or an incorrect interpretation and application of the law. If you plan to hire a paralegal, make sure that they agree to only assist you and not the other side.
In the end, hiring a paralegal may end up costing you more than if you simply hired an attorney. Paralegals cannot represent you in court. So, if something goes wrong with your forms, you will likely end up hiring an attorney to appear in court on your behalf to explain your position and finish your case – this is an extra unnecessary step that court have been saved by hiring an attorney to begin with.
Paralegals can be helpful if you know exactly what documents you need or results you want to achieve but you do not understand the forms or do not have time to fill them out. In simple, uncontested cases, an experienced paralegal, who knows how to properly prepare the appropriate documents, can save you time and money.
Like many family law firms, Rosenblum Law Offices has paralegals on staff. These paralegals have been trained by our attorneys and are under the direct supervision of our attorneys. Our use of paralegals, generally saves our clients fees and time because they have the knowledge, skill and experience that meet our high standards. At the same time our attorneys are involved in all aspects of your case and review all documents prepared by our paralegals.
If you need legal advice for your case, consult an attorney first. Obtain information direction from the attorney, and once you have gathered the information, make an informed decision about whether hiring an attorney or a paralegal is right for you.
If you need help with a family law matter, call us today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information.