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ImageThe Paralegal is often treated as a glorified secretary and assigned tasks like copying, dictating letters, and scheduling meetings.  Although, this may be the practice in some law firms that do not have a clearly defined role for a paralegal, this misclassification can mean the difference in the court awarding fees for work performed on a case.  In several cases judges have ruled against firms who have either charged what the court deemed excessive amounts for legal secretary’s doing paralegal work or paralegals performing what is considered to  be secretarial work.  Paralegal duties include legal research, document drafting, interviewing clients, and drafting pleadings.  Duties like photocopying, scheduling meetings, and dictating letters are usually considered secretarial in nature.  The best insurance for having a client refuse to pay fees or a court denying fees for legal support staff is to have clearly defined roles for paralegals and secretaries.

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