The Covid-19 pandemic brought telework to center stage in an unprecedented way. Even the legal field, which has historically conducted its business in person and been very resolute in the desire to continue doing so, was not immune. As the pandemic went on, courtrooms were forced to go virtual and eventually showed that it was possible to complete this work via platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. This revelation has likely changed the legal system forever, and with it the job of legal assistants and paralegals.
Paralegals and legal assistants are extremely versatile members of the law firm and they must accomplish many tasks for the firm on a daily basis. As the heartbeat of the legal field, they are depended upon by attorneys and their presence is vital. This might make one question whether or not that vital presence can become a virtual one, but like many other tough questions to come out of the pandemic, we begin to ask ourselves “Why not?”.
Are virtual paralegals and legal assistants a thing of our future? Are we moving to a society where this position can be performed remotely? This question must be answered with events that are occurring in the coming years.
While paralegals and legal assistants have shown themselves perfectly capable in a virtual capacity, its likely that work status will ultimately be left up to the firms and attorneys they work for. While the formality of having in-person legal work will always hold precedence over virtual work, there is no way to rule out the possibility of a majority of paralegals and legal assistants being presented with the option of a virtual, remote, work from home position. The pandemic has shown the world just how capable we all are of working remotely and still being successful but the question will now be, will those in the legal profession be willing to break the cycle that they are used to and adapt to virtual work? This is a question that will only be answered with time.
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By: Zachary Akers, EKU Graduate Assistant