What do paralegals do at trial?

By: John Powell, EKU Graduate Assistant

Paralegals provide a very helpful hand to attorneys during the process of going through a trial.  The aide that paralegals provide begins way before the day of the trial, as they are useful in locating and interviewing key witnesses for the case.  From these interviews, the paralegal is able to take statements from the witnesses that will later be used for the case investigation.  A paralegal is able to aide in the construction of a timeline of events that will be relevant to the case moving forward.  This timeline is important for the case as it moves forward due to the necessity that having a clear understanding of the facts is within the litigation process.  Without a proper timeline, it would be more difficult to establish facts that would benefit the client.

Another aspect of what is expected of paralegals during the trial process is to gather relevant information that could shed light on certain facts obtained through the discovery process.  Being able to sift through information gathered from sources such as newspapers, police reports, prior court rulings, and libraries allows for the most comprehensive understanding of the facts present within a case.  Therefore, it is important that the paralegal is able to understand and identify what the most relevant information would be.  Without it, the case would become much harder than it needed to be.

During the actual trial itself, the paralegal acts as the one responsible for setting up courtroom exhibits, assisting in researching jurors and preparing witnesses.  Along with those tasks, a paralegal serves as a liaison for the legal team when it comes to communication with the clients, experts, and witnesses.  After the trial is concluded, the paralegal will assist with organizing any settlement that may occur and in the event of an appeal, will aide with that as well.  During the appeal process, the duties of a paralegal involve organizing documents so that a record of appeal can be kept.  Paralegals are a very vital part to the operation of a trial, without them the process would grind to a halt.

Published on December 10, 2019