Network Firm News

Monday, May 05, 2003

Firms leverage paralegal skills to improve business efficiency
Memphis Business Journal -- Leigh Ann Roman -- 5/2/03
Pam Cobb, a paralegal in a Memphis law firm, can do many of the same jobs performed by young associates: legal research and drafting pleadings and memoranda.

The difference is that her coworkers have graduated from law school and can appear in court. But Cobb and other paralegals -- or legal assistants -- are playing a growing role in the legal industry thanks to technology and demands for increased efficiency at firms.

"I think probably Memphis or maybe Tennessee in general is a little behind the curve as far as paralegal utilization," says Cobb, president of the Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance, Inc. "I think attorneys here are just beginning to realize the extensiveness of paralegal training."

The ratio of attorneys to paralegals has declined nationally over the past five years at small to mid-sized law firms, indicating greater use of paralegals, according to a survey by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) in 2002.

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