What does the Paralegal do in my Bankruptcy and, who is the Legal Support Staff?
Many bankruptcy law practices are made up of attorney’s, administrators, paralegals, legal assistants and secretaries. While the attorney is going to be the one that is representing the clients in court and at hearings, the legal support staff has a large role to play on all sides of the bankruptcy process. Often, a client will be working primarily with a support staff, so it is important to understand the role that they play.
Often times a debtor‘s first point of contact will be with a paralegal or a legal assistant. The support member will usually gather all the initial documents and will prepare the first draft of the legal pleadings. The attorney will then review the documents and pleadings and will work up the case.
In order to ensure that your bankruptcy case is ultimately successful, every debtor should keep in mind this dynamic. Just like a waiter may not be cooking your food at a restaurant, they are the ones in charge of making sure that your experience is a pleasant one. So too the support staff is trying to insure that your case is successful. Therefore, it is always a good idea to treat the support staff member with as much respect as you would the attorney.
Additionally, while the debtor may not have direct contact with opposing counsel it is also important to remember that the Court, your creditors and the Trustee also employ support staff and they should also be treated with respect. A good attorney knows that if he/she wants his/her cases to be successful, a good relationship with case administrators and the court clerks is extremely important.
Furthermore, if you are dealing with staff members it is important to remember that at the end of the day they are not attorney’s and cannot give you legal advice. Even though an experienced paralegal or legal assistant may have a vast amount of legal knowledge, because they are ultimately not licensed attorneys they cannot give you legal advice nor practice law. Therefore, the advice given to you by the support staff member is and should be treated as practical advice, unless it is specified that they have spoken to the attorney in your case. Commonly, a support staff member will relay messages to you from the attorney.
If you feel as though you do truly need to speak to your attorney, they should always make themselves available to you. Keep in mind that most law offices have a large number of cases and, like the earlier restaurant analogy, your meal is not the only meal they are preparing.
The attorneys and legal support staff at the Law Firm of Fears and Nachawati have decades of experience in bankruptcy law. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy or have questions about your debt relief options contact the highly experienced staff at the law firm of Fears Nachawati for a free consultation by clicking here, or contacting our office at 1.866.705.7584.