Paralegal Basics

Do you want to become the next Erin Brockovich?

What is a Paralegal?

“A legal assistant or paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

-American Bar Association (ABA)

What do Paralegals do?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics paralegals and legal assistants typically do the following:

  • Investigate the facts of a case
  • Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles
  • Organize and present the information
  • Keep information related to cases or transactions in computer databases
  • Write reports to help lawyers prepare for trials
  • Draft correspondence and other documents, such as contracts and mortgages
  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court
  • Help lawyers during trials

 What schools can I attend?

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations encourages potential paralegals to select ABA approved programs. A list of schools in CA that are ABA approved can be found on the ABA website:


In Riverside:

Riverside Community College Paralegal program

Educational Advisor: Bonnie Langley

Telephone: 951-222-8624

For more information:

The UCR Extension has an ABA paralegal certificate program and a Fiduciary Management certificate program

Program Director: Stacy Sweeney
Telephone: 951-827-4105
For more information: or Fiduciary Management certificate program

Please Note: The information presented in this research guide is intended to provide a foundation for legal research. For information pertaining to your case please consult with an attorney, court facilitator or specialist.

This guide is also available on our website paralegal_basics03-02-2020.pdf

Rev. 11/20/2020