I always preface my answer with the following caveat: I am currently employed as a construction litigation paralegal. My answer is based solely on my current knowledge, experience and education which means it may not be wholly accurate and should not be construed as the end all, be all answer.
With that said, the previous poster is correct. Paralegal duties are specific to what area of law you work in, the size of the law firm you work in, how well your supervising attorneys trust you, how well they manage and use your skills, and how good you are at your job.
Paralegals are not "like" an attorney's assistant. They ARE the attorney's right-hand person. Do they have long days? That is dependent on whether or not you are a full time or part time employee, hourly or salary.
My typical day is filing, making phone calls to clients, court staff, court coordinators, district clerks, county clerks, filing liens, drafting Motions, drafting discovery responses and requests, drafting correspondence to clients, clerks and opposing counsel, calendaring depositions, mediations and trials, archiving files, making sure that I am billing my time accurately, reviewing files for status updates, keeping an eye on all attorney's calendars and ensuring they are on time with filings, answers, responses and due dates, be proactive in contacting the attorney about upcoming deadlines, scanning production documents, OCR-ing production documents, manager of trial software, create spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, attend continuing legal education, attending local bar association functions and meetings, faxing, emailing, copying, binding, hole punching and occasionally, I get a few minutes for lunch.
Yes, I do 90?f that in a nine hour work day. I work in a highly specialized law office with commercial construction attorneys. That means multi-party litigation with 40+ defendants. That means keeping track of each of their attorneys and making sure service is executed for each document. We handle multi-billion dollar claims and lawsuits. I currently assist 2 of the 3 attorneys in the office. I am usually swamped, but functional. When our law clerk graduates law school in two years, I will be responsible for three attorneys.
My suggestion is to find the area of law that suits you. I thrive on being the one person that keeps everything together. My day always hits the ground running. I could never be a paralegal that isn't as involved as I am. My supervising attorneys trust me with A LOT of legal work. I draft quite a bit. Find a law firm that will invest in you. Join paralegal associations. Go to seminars. Attend continuing education. Be involved in your career and you will be more satisfied.
Answered By: Prorkycake - 8/3/2010