Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Paralegal

Quick Summary of Paralegal

A person who does legal work but who is not licensed to practice law or dispense legal advice. Independent paralegals (those who work directly with the public, not for lawyers) assist their customers by providing forms, helping people fill them out correctly and filing them with the proper court.

What is the dictionary definition of Paralegal?

Dictionary Definition

legal One who assists a lawyer in their routine work but who is without the qualified status of a solicitor or barrister (England and Wales), attorney (U.S.), or advocate; known more commonly in the U.S. as a legal assistant.

n. a non-lawyer who performs routine tasks requiring some knowledge of the law and procedures and who is employed by a law office or works free-lance as an independent for various lawyers. Usually, paralegals have taken a prescribed series of courses in law and legal processes, which is much less demanding than those required for a licensed attorney. Paralegals are increasingly popular, often handling much of the paperwork in probates of estates, divorce actions, bankruptcies, investigations, analyzing depositions, preparing and answering interrogatories and procedural motions and other specialized jobs. Clients should be sure that the hourly rate charged for paralegals is much less than that for the attorneys.

Full Definition of Paralegal

Paralegals assist lawyers by performing a wide range of legal work which can include conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, working with clients, and managing personal injury cases. Paralegals may not provide legal services directly to a client unless permitted by law.

Paralegals can also work in private law firms, banks, corporations, insurance agencies, legal clinics, courts, government agencies, accounting and engineering firms, title companies, construction companies, and legal aid offices. The work a paralegal will do in these occupations varies but can include interviewing witnesses, analyzing legal documents, investigating facts, drafting pleadings and creating legal memoranda and briefs.

Most paralegals have a bachelor’s degree and paralegal training. The average salary for a paralegal nationwide is $41,742. Of those paralegals just starting their paralegal career, 28% begin with a salary greater than $32,000. In addition to a salary, 65% of paralegals receive an annual bonus, which averages $2,468.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Paralegal. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. May 25, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Paralegal. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: May 25, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Paralegal. Retrieved May 25, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Paralegal are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 29th April, 2020 | 0 Views.