Legal Archive

Paralegal Writing: The Importance of Good Structure and Grammar

Paralegal Revisiting A Draft

“The minute you read something you can’t understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer.”

Humorist Will Rogers may have said it as a joke, but bad legal writing is a serious matter. Judges lose patience with attorneys and their bad writing. They issue public reprimands, requiring attorneys to take legal writing courses – or worse, dismiss complaints due to bad grammar and excessive spelling errors.

Now, the pressure lies on paralegals, as supervising attorneys are passing the job onto them.

Changing Role of Paralegals

Yes, what used to be a job exclusive to attorneys has been passed on to paralegals. Litigation paralegals, for instance, draft pleadings, correspondence, motions, discovery, briefs, memorandums, and other legal documents. Transactional paralegals, on the other hand, draft contracts, agreements, resolutions, and related documents.

And not only will you help make the judges’ and attorneys’ jobs easier; training in paralegal writing and mastering the art will also set you apart from peers and co-workers, therefore advancing your career.

The question is, how can both litigation and transactional paralegals master the art of paralegal writing?

Improving Paralegal Writing Skills

To improve your paralegal writing skills, first, learn – and re-learn – the basics. Take a class that teaches grammar, structure, punctuation, and spelling, for instance, as this will strengthen the foundation of your writing skills.

Also, make sure your legal writing is organized and readable, and follow a clear logic to your conclusion. Keep in mind that legal writing is not all about complex words and fancy phrases, but about simplifying the already complex ideas into simple, understandable sentences.

The written word is one of the most important tools in the legal profession. And the better your writing skills are, the further and more successful you will be in this line of work.

That Side of the Law: When You Want to Be a Criminal Paralegal

Lawyer and Paralegal

So, you want to be a criminal law paralegal.

Out of all the branches of the field, you choose to dabble in the area that deals with criminal defense and prosecutors’ offices. No doubt that criminal law can be intriguing, but there’s more to being a paralegal in this field than just filing papers or brewing coffee for the attorney. Also, it’s different from the jobs you see on television (you won’t be chasing criminals down the street).

After pursuing paralegal studies online, you want to make the most of your next career path, but what does it entail?

Job Description and Tasks

Criminal law paralegals have the same set of tasks as other kinds of paralegals: drafting paperwork, interviewing witnesses, communicating with clients, and building cases against possible suspects. Criminal law paralegals usually do the following tasks, as well:

  • Arranging and adjusting requirements for bail
  • Filing for a reduction in bond motion
  • Gathering all discovery information, which includes police reports, affidavits, and search warrants
  • Talking with probation officers

The Steps to Take

Aspiring criminal law paralegals should finish a two- or four-year degree in criminal justice or paralegal studies with a specialization in criminal law. On the other hand, there is also an increasing number of organizations that require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree, however, is not enough. You’ll need the skills too.

It’s a big plus if you possess extensive knowledge of state and local federal laws and court procedures. Professionalism and dedication also make a big difference in your profession.

Career Opportunities

In the field of criminal law paralegals, private law firms are your biggest fans. Special interest groups and the government are also part of the market, but they employ only a small number of paralegals. Experienced criminal law paralegals have the extra advantage of applying for managerial and administrative positions.

Interested in this field? Sharpen up your CV and skills to earn that job.

Lawyer Aspiration’s Step One: Be a Paralegal

Law School Readings Being a paralegal teaches one or two things about your career: it may be the first step you take toward being a lawyer or it could be such a great job you realize that you want to be a lawyer. Either way, the ambition is there: you want to be a lawyer.

Whatever the case is, the experience is still the greatest advantage when you apply for law school.

While your online paralegal school might’ve taught you enough about the law, it’s always a plus to take things a step further.

Here’s how being a paralegal helps you during your law school admission process.

Learn from the Field

Being a paralegal already exposes you to the realities attorneys face every day. It paves the way for exploration of law areas that might pique your interests (which can also be your specialization after law school). Also, take a look at other potential practice areas to strategically pursue summer associate positions (another big plus if you want to go to law school).

Strong Recommendations

Letters of recommendation are valuable for your law school application. If you really want to be a lawyer, start by taking the time to build good relationships with potential recommenders. Keep in mind that the admissions committee needs evidence of your skills and characteristics. Through recommendations, they can judge if you will be a good lawyer or not.

Select endorsers who can share particular examples of your drafting, researching, and editing skills. Most experts and professors recommend coming up with at least two letters of recommendation; one of them should come from the law firm you worked for. Supervising attorneys can also write a good commendation for you.

Being a paralegal is a good experience, especially if you wish to take things up a notch. Make the most of your paralegal career and use it for your future law aspirations.

Handling Your Finances in a Divorce

Divorce Lawyer

Things end for many reasons. Relationships, and even marriages, are not spared from such. In some cases, the end comes at an expected time, such as the death of a partner or a spouse. In some cases, the end of the relationship comes as a divorce. The situation becomes even more heartbreaking when there are properties that need to be settled once the marriage has been dissolved.

Putting Things In Perspective

Most divorce lawyers in Townsville recommend settling your finances as soon as you have started filing for the dissolution of your marriage. This would include closing any joint account that you might have with your spouse. You would need to settle and divide such accounts as agreed in your pre-nuptial agreement. If you have none, try to reach an amicable settlement with your spouse with the help of a legal counsel.
It is also a good idea to ensure that you properly record any assets that you and your spouse might have. Include debts or mortgage loans that you and your spouse might have incurred during the marriage. Keep also a separate list of assets and liabilities that are strictly under your name. This would come in handy when you are working out a list of assets.
If you are renting a house, make sure that you update your rental agreement. If you need to move out, you need to make sure that you inform the landlord and make a new rental agreement that reflects you and your partner’s new status.  This would prevent any confusion when issues arise regarding unpaid rent.

The Repercussions

Divorce lawyers can help ensure that you and your partner reach a settlement that is fair to everyone involved. Divorce is difficult enough, and the aid of a lawyer who can help you through the process is an essential step in restarting a new life.

Prime Qualities of an Appellate Lawyer

LegalYou lost the battle in your felony case. The judge convicted you for the offense charged against you, sentencing you with hefty fines and lengthy imprisonment as per the jury’s verdict. You can’t help but feel a pang of sadness—imagining the future you might never have.

Don’t raise the white flag yet, though; this isn’t yet the end of your story.

Be it a state or a federal crime conviction, the initial judgment is not necessarily final. The constitution provides you an appellate right—a legal remedy to try and reverse the decision given to you. By all means, it’s a serious matter; your appeal determines if you could still keep your freedom or at least reduce your punishments. There’s no telling how your application would turn out, but your chances to succeed is definitely higher with an experienced lawyer on your side.

Excellent Writer

David A. Nachtigall said, “Appellate proceedings differ significantly from those in the trial court because they are based primarily on written submissions to the court.” That means your lawyer should have outstanding writing skills. Unlike court trials, there are no witnesses nor a jury this time around. Your lawyer’s mastery of words is vital to present your case in a good light.

Exceptional Researcher

An appeal requires a tremendous amount of legwork to pin-point all the possible irregularities or errors in the plea or previous trial. Finding a new, strong evidence is crucial to help make sure your appellate efforts bear fruit. Without brilliant researching skills, an appeal is just time and money wasted.

Adept Criminal Lawyer

An appellate attorney should be well-rounded in criminal law. The lawyer must has been tested in real-world cases with a wealth of experience in the prosecution and defense sides. Their extensive understanding on how the criminal justice system works is imperative.

With your liberty and future at stake, your case is worthy of a second look. Don’t blow your potentially last opportunity; find a lawyer that has these qualities, and you may have a successful appeal.

Penalties for Different Crimes in Illinois

CrimeIllinois is no stranger to different crimes anymore. Before deciding to do something you’ll regret later, for any reason, it’s helpful to know what penalties are enforced for those actions.

In some cases, you may face criminal charges for crimes you didn’t commit. Criminal defense attorneys in Lincoln, IL mention that by merely being accused, your freedom, finances, reputation, friends, and family are all at great risk. For that, you have to be knowledgeable of what’s ahead of your situation.

There are six main crime categories: murder, habitual criminality, felony, misdemeanor, petty offense, and business offense. Each has a corresponding jail term, extended term, probation term, and maximum fine.


This can be categorized further under first or second degree. For first-degree murder, you may face the death penalty, life imprisonment without parole, or 20 to 60(60 to 100, for extension) years in jail. You won’t be allowed a probation term plus you have three years for mandatory supervision release term (MSRT), and a maximum fine of $25,000, which is the same value as the other degree.

The second-degree, on the other hand, has four to 20 jail years with 15 to 30 years possible extension. You’re also given four years of probation instead and two years for MSRT.

Habitual Criminality

This is not an offense. Rather, it’san adjudication of people who’ve committed a crime twice, have been convicted in U.S. courts of certain cases, and other instances. This category faces life imprisonment without parole, not allowed a probation term, and no fine.


These crimes are classified as X and 1 to 4. Each has a different jail term from one to 30 years, and three to 60 years possible extension. All classes have a maximum fine of $25,000, or $50,000 for a corporation. Probation term ranges from 2.5 years to not being allowed and the MSRT range from one to three years.


Classes A to C misdemeanor has jail time of 30 days to one year with no possible extension and MSRT. It has, however, up to two years of probation term instead and a maximum fine of $1,500 to $2,500.

Petty and Business Offense

Petty offenses only give up to six months of probation term, and the amount of maximum fine is to be specified no more than $1,000. Business offenses, meanwhile, only require a specified amount of fine.

This summary of the penalties for different crimes in Illinois are just the standard sentence provisions. It can be different for certain cases. But knowing this information can definitely help with your case.