Responsibilities of a Paralegal

Assignment 1: Research and the Paralegal

This assignment supports the following lesson objectives:

Describe the research responsibilities of a paralegal.
Describe the products of legal research.

Assignment Overview

This writing assignment explores details of the research conducted by paralegals.


A one to one and a half page paper (written in 12-point font using a word processor such as MS Word) describing a paralegal’s research and the typical products of that research.

Activity Details
Perform the following tasks:

Step 1: Review major research responsibilities of a paralegal.Consider the work you expect to perform in your first year as a paralegal, such as:

Locating and summarizing relevant case law.
Locating and summarizing relevant statutory law.
Identifying legal issues in a client’s situation.
Checking citations in a document.
Reviewing legal memoranda from opposing counsel.

Step 2: Identify at least three products a paralegal could produce based on the responsibilities identified in Step 1.
For example, if the attorney for whom you work asked you to summarize the facts in a court case, what would you produce?
Step 3: Describe the responsibilities and the related products.Using a word processor (such as MS Word), then for each product you select:

Summarize the type of research it might involve.
Describe some of the resources you would use.
Describe the major components of the product.

For example, if you choose “a case brief” as a research product, what tasks might your research involve, and what would be the major components of the case brief?