My personal experience of a paralegal internship represented an administrative oversight for the public defender office that provided the state-funded legal counsel services for indigent defense in New York. I was responsible for assisting attorneys in the delivery of legal services.
Some of the responsibilities included the analysis of cases, research of relevant laws, regulations and judicial decisions to assist lawyers in analyzing and evaluating various cases for general counsel purposes as well as litigation or case strategy. I would frequently get involved in the independent analysis and interpretation of legal documents and facts. To improve my efficiency I would use the internet, Premise, and Westlaw assisting programs.
Speaking about drafting of certain documents I would like to note that I would review, analyze and develop various legal documents, briefs, motions (e.g., summary judgment motions), discover reports and orders, affidavits, complaints, research memos and other relevant documents. I can indeed note that my paralegal internship provided me with superb skills of drafting documents. I would prepare documents to sit on EBTs with the attorney.
Another experience I enjoyed during my paralegal internship was the review of the development of case strategy procedures as well as various pleadings. I would review other documents too as long as the attorney approved my choice. The case files would be reviewed for sufficiency of documentation. I would summarize case files and use my discretion in determining other necessary information for these data.
My legal internship provided me with a unique opportunity to respond to legitimate inquiries for information verbally and in writing. I can admit that my verbal skills improved significantly as well as my ability to take notes, jot down facts and inquiries, and quickly compose the necessary memos to attorneys and responses to the clients.
I would serve as a liaison between the attorney office and the clients and therefore, would communicate with different attorneys, clients, defendants, witnesses, court personnel as well as other public. My paralegal internship taught me how to get along with different people well, how to ask questions when I did not understand something and how to communicate good and bad news to attorneys.
I much enjoyed personal responsibility to assist attorneys with conflict cases in other jurisdictions and would travel several times to other states. Still, the thing that I enjoyed the most in my paralegal internship was the research of laws and judicial decisions related to various cases. It was interesting to me organize case documents for an attorney and prepare reports for attorneys together with my recommendations.
In conclusion, I would like to note that my paralegal internship equipped me with the skills necessary to become a lawyer in the future. My course allowed me to get immersed in the legal studies, procedures, processes, and documentation and ultimately make sense out of it. While in the beginning, it would be somewhat confusing to grasp all the tiny details, later in my paralegal internship I would be able to express my opinion on things and procedures and present viable solutions. The best thing that I got from my paralegal internship was the recognition of my abilities by attorneys and other staff members. It was that external recognition and respect that made me understand that I did well most of the time and received a unique chance to further my skills in law.
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