What does a Principal Paralegal do?

Paralegals perform various duties and tasks that directly support lawyers or legal teams, including creating, maintaining, and organizing their files, conducting relevant research, and drafting documents. Paralegals help lawyers and legal teams to prepare for their presentations. They are called upon to do investigation and fact-finding, and to research the relevant laws, regulations, and articles that pertain to their cases.

Paralegals gather evidence and arrange legal documents for review and case preparation. They write and summarize reports, and draft correspondence and legal documents including contracts. They also gather affidavits and formal statements that might be used as evidence in court. Paralegals handle exhibits, take notes, and are responsible for the review of trial transcripts, interviews, and depositions. They also arrange meetings with relevant parties including clients and witnesses, lawyers, outside vendors. Paralegals keep track of and file legal documents including exhibits, briefs, and appeals with the court or with opposing counsel. Paralegals need a high school diploma or equivalent and training and certification as a paralegal.

What responsibilities are common for Principal Paralegal jobs?
  • Assist in the development of search term criteria and lists.
  • Manage and oversee claims and litigation assigned to outside counsel.
  • Review case related materials and identify potentially conflicting statements or areas requiring further investigation.
  • Ability to organize and maintain discovery files, notice depositions, prepare deposition materials, exhibit summaries, and materials for experts.
  • Corporate governance support, such as SEC reporting, board-of-directors management, and subsidiary management.
  • Assist in issuing the necessary notifications to all parties.
  • Serve as point of contact with vendors and clerk of courts.
  • Prepare for presentations, meetings, and filings with government agencies.
  • Assist with providing knowledgeable, courteous and prompt responses to questions from customers.
  • Adhere to firm policy re: time records and required overtime on assignments.
  • Design and develop procedures for tracking, controlling, and manage case work.
  • Ensure citations are complete and consistent with source material.
  • Review and prepare responses to a variety of entities.
  • Organize large amounts of material (both hard copy and electronic) generated by litigation. Maintain a master set of all documents, keep updated records and correspondence files, and prepare indices of document productions.
  • Assist the Hearing Officer with incoming correspondence by perform an initial assessment of tasks to be completed.
What are the typical qualifications for Principal Paralegal jobs?
  • Bachelor's Degree in business, business administration, or political science and certification to work as a paralegal.
  • Fluency with indexes, templating, file management, and document management systems.
  • Work knowledge of formal documents including petitions and notices.
  • Demonstrable critical thinking and problem-solving skills, ability to prioritize, and time management skills.
  • Sound work ethic and commitment to confidentiality and attention to detail.
Education--
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.2 ★
Avg. Experience--

How much does a Principal Paralegal make?

Confident
$94,379 /yr
Total Pay
$73,842
 /yr

Base Pay

+
$20,538
 /yr

Additional Pay

$94,379

 / yr
$52K$257K
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Principal Paralegal Career Path

Learn how to become a Principal Paralegal, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L3
Paralegal Supervisor
$71,424/yr
L4
Lead Paralegal
$73,395/yr
L5
See Career Path

Principal Paralegal Insights

Read what Principal Paralegal professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
KforceKforce
Immigration Specialist
Feb 8, 2021

“During my time there I was working with very exceptional people and it was great.”

Cruser & MitchellCruser & Mitchell
Litigation Paralegal
Jan 21, 2022

“The managing partners Robb and Bill are really great and a joy to work with.”

Daspit Law FirmDaspit Law Firm
Litigation Paralegal
Oct 22, 2020

“DLF gave me the opportunity to learn and grow into the knowledgeable and experienced paralegal I am today.”

Corporate Immigration PartnersCorporate Immigration Partners
Paralegal
Jul 21, 2021

“however the team is amazing with understanding what is manageable and if you have concerns you can clearly voice them.”

Brooklyn Legal Services CorpBrooklyn Legal Services Corp
Intake Paralegal
Feb 22, 2021

“Gives good insight into legal work and you’re able to work with some great people.”

Paralaw (UK)Paralaw (UK)
Paralegal
Feb 17, 2021

“Great opportunity to start your legal career and gain legal work experience as a paralegal drafting and negotiating contracts.”

Hugh JamesHugh James
Paralegal
Oct 27, 2020

“The department I was in was full of great people and was welcoming from day one.”

Wio(UAE)Wio(UAE)
Paralegal
Mar 21, 2022

“3. great mentorship since it was my first job and I learnt a lot in no time.”

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Principal Paralegal Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of paralegals

During the typical day of a paralegal, these professionals assist lawyers by performing research, drafting documents, managing cases, and interacting with clients. Paralegals may investigate the facts of a case, draft motions and pleadings, or assist a lawyer during trial.

An advantage of being a paralegal is that law firms always need these professionals. When becoming a paralegal, you have the chance to specialize in various types of law and seek out different size law firms. You could be be the sole paralegal in a small practice or work on a team at a big firm.

The average salary for a paralegal is $94,379 a year in the U.S., with a salary range from $51,556 to $257,447 per year. Pay can vary depending on years of experience, location, and the type of firm the paralegal works for.

Working as a paralegal can be stressful when an important case is coming up. Additionally, looming deadlines may mean paralegals need to work overtime to assist with overall case management. While they aren't directly involved in court procedure, paralegals may also need to spend time in court.

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