What is a paralegal?
A paralegal is a professional who can perform substantive legal work for an attorney. While the terms paralegal and legal assistant can and are often used interchangeably, popular convention is to reserve the term paralegal for those who have passed the NALA certification exam.
Here’s a quick overview of the skills you should look for in paralegal professionals:
- Paralegal services
- Legal research and writing
- Contract drafting
- Law specialization (e.g., real estate law)
Why do you want to hire paralegals?
The trick to finding top paralegals is to identify your needs. Are you an attorney looking for a professional to research case law to help you prepare for court? Or are you a business in need of a paralegal to draft contracts and other legal documents? The cost of your project will depend largely on your scope of work and the specific skills needed to bring your project to life.
HOW TO HIRE PARALEGALS
Whether you’re a lawyer, a business owner, or someone working for a government agency, paralegals can help you perform legal research and create legal documents.
So how do you hire paralegals? What follows are some tips for finding top paralegals on Upwork.
How to shortlist paralegal professionals
As you’re browsing available paralegal consultants, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the professionals you may want to interview. You can screen profiles on criteria such as:
- Industry fit. You want a paralegal who understands your industry so they can help you figure out how best to reach your target market.
- Project experience. Screen candidate profiles for specific skills and experience (e.g., researching case precedences for contract law).
- Feedback. Check reviews from past clients for glowing testimonials or red flags that can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular paralegal.
How to write an effective paralegal job post
With a clear picture of your ideal paralegal in mind, it’s time to write that job post. Although you don’t need a full job description as you would when hiring an employee, aim to provide enough detail for a freelancer to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
An effective paralegal job post should include:
- Scope of work: From legal research to content creation, list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a smaller or larger project.
- Background: If you prefer experience with certain industries or law practices, mention this here.
- Budget: Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Ready to delegate miscellaneous legal tasks to a paralegal? Log in and post your paralegal job on Upwork today.
FAQS FOR HIRING PARALEGALS
How much does it cost to hire a paralegal?
Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market conditions.
- An experienced paralegal may command higher fees but also work faster, have more specialized areas of expertise, and deliver higher-quality work.
- A freelancer who is still in the process of building a client base may price their paralegal services more competitively.
Which one is right for you will depend on the specifics of your project.
How long should you contract a paralegal to complete your project?
As difficult as it is to estimate how long you will need a paralegal, budgeting time is very important to keeping your project on track.
Be prepared to budget more time for more demanding legal needs. For example, writing content for a blog that occasionally covers legal topics in your industry will typically take less time than prepping precedents and sources for a court case.
What are the steps involved to hire paralegals?
Here’s how to hire paralegal consultants in four simple steps:
- Identify your project needs, whether it’s case preparation or contract writing.
- Define the scope of work and write a detailed job post. Be specific about deliverables (e.g., fact-checking tax advice in a blog post).
- Review proposals and shortlist potential paralegals for unique skills needed to bring your project to life (e.g., NALA certification).
- Interview paralegal talent to gauge whether they’re the right fit for your project. Here are some sample interview questions.