Paralegal pleadings are drafted for attorney approval and signature to increase the attorneys billable hours. Many paralegals can work for one attorney. An attorney can sign off on more work than he can produce. It makes good law office business sense to have one attorney managing two or three highly experienced litigation paralegals.
Many Pleadings Do Not Need An Attorney to Draft Them
Many pleadings are boilerplate templates that only require some facts applied to the law. Paralegal pleadings save attorney time and help create a cost effective litigation plan. Usually attorneys know exactly what pleadings they want the paralegal to prepare. However it usually best to have the paralegal do some legal research on the topic to see if there are any new developments such as new case law. Legal research is usually the first thing that gets skimped out on. Having a good research paralegal do a legal brief is a good way to begin a litigation plan. The only real question becomes what rate the paralegal’s pleadings get billed out at. Some paralegal work is so high quality that it could be billed out as the attorney’s work product.
Paralegal Pleadings: Complaints and Petitions
Paralegal pleadings such as complaints must be carefully drafted. All complaints should state a sum certain in the prayer for damages. This is because the only way a plaintiff can obtain a default judgment against a defendant is if the complaint requests a sum certain. A specific dollar amount of general and special damages. You can always put language in your prayer for damages for “certain other and further relief as the court deems” or something like that. Paralegal research on complaints always begins with Google. There are many boilerplate complaint template forms on the Internet. Pay special attention to the statutes and case law cited in probate court petitions. Also pay close attention to the prayer for damages. Never state an exact dollar amount for punitive or exemplary damages in the prayer or anywhere else in your complaint. Paralegal pleadings for lawsuits are a good way to make sure your litigation file is complete.
Pleadings on Pacer
Pacer.gov is a good place to find pleadings. For $.08/per page you can download pdf files of every type of recent federal pleading that has been filed in United States District Court. All the legal assistant needs to do is find a relevant federal case number using a search engine. Then go pull that case number up in Pacer. I have found many paralegal pleadings using this free research and forms of pleading and practice method. Everything is there on the Internet you just have to know how to find it. Paralegals know how to find things on the Internet.