The Legal Assistant's Complete Desk Reference: A Handbook for Paralegals and Assistants


Paralegals and legal assistants need a thorough guide to all the rules and regulations dictating their job performance, as well as a repository of the many forms they see every day. Now, the American Bar Association examines these myriad responsibilities in The Legal Assistant's Complete Desk Reference. This authoritative compendium provides the scope and definition of the proficient and successful legal ...

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Paralegals and legal assistants need a thorough guide to all the rules and regulations dictating their job performance, as well as a repository of the many forms they see every day. Now, the American Bar Association examines these myriad responsibilities in The Legal Assistant's Complete Desk Reference. This authoritative compendium provides the scope and definition of the proficient and successful legal assistant in six easy-to-use sections:

Part I: A Day in the Life of a Legal Assistant

Part II: Court Systems and Procedures

Part III: Preparing Legal Instruments, Documents and Court Filings

Part IV: Legal Research and Writing

Part VI: Trial Preparation

Part VI: Areas of Practice

This comprehensive handbook also explores the career opportunities open to paralegals and legal assistants, as well as some common areas of legal practice and what they entail. Also included is a CD-ROM of sample forms and letters, a state-by-state resource guide, a glossary of common legal terms, and a thorough index. This is the authoritative ABA guide paralegals and assistants need to efficiently complete all their many duties.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616328801
  • Publisher: American Bar Association
  • Publication date: 4/16/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I A Day in the Life of a Legal Assistant 1

What is a Paralegal or Legal Assistant? 3

Typical Duties 5

Model Standards and Guidelines for Utilization of Paralegals 7

Legal Assistant Confidentiality 19

Sample Confidentiality Agreement 19

Paralegal Involvement in Bar Associations 20

Best Practices 23

Working with Your Attorney 23

Client Intake 27

Client Intake Form (General) 27

Sample Client Questionnaire 29

Conflict Search (For Office Use) 31

Types of Names to Be Added to Conflict List 32

Legal Services Agreement 33

General Engagement Letter 36

File Opening Form (for Office Use) 37

Disengagement Letter/Closing Letter 39

Filing Systems and Records Management 40

Billing and Time Management 40

Legal Ethics 44

Ethics Codes 44

Paralegal Codes 44

Select Rules from the Model Rules of Professional Conduct 58

The Unauthorized Practice of Law 64

Paralegals and Conflict of Interest 69

Part II Court Systems and Procedures 73

The Civil Litigation Process and Related Court Rules 75

Jurisdiction 75

Court Rules 77

Pleadings 77

Service of Process 78

Answers and Defenses 85

Motions to Dismiss 87

Rule 11 88

Discovery 90

Discovery Methods in More Detail 91

Failure to Comply with Discovery 98

Pretrial Conferences 99

Motion for Summary Judgment 102

Jury Trials 103

The Trial Process 104

Post-Trial Matters 107

The Criminal Process and Related Rules and Procedures 110

Preliminary Proceedings 110

Searches and Seizures 122

Criminal Trials 128

Post-Conviction Procedures 132

Defendant's Presence, the Right to Cross-Examine Witnesses, and the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination 137

The Right to Counsel 139

Rules Regarding Motions, Dismissals, and Serving Papers 140

Rules of Evidence 142

Relevance 142

Privilege 144

Witnesses 145

Hearsay 151

Authentication and the Best Evidence Rule 157

Character Evidence 162

The Appellate Process and Related Court Rules 164

Part III Preparing Legal Instruments, Documents and Court Filings 177

Pleadings 179

Sample Pleading 179

Motions 185

Motion Example 1 185

Motion Example 2 187

Sample Motion to Vacate 189

Discovery 191

Form Spoliation Letter to Opposing Counsel 192

Request for Production of Documents 197

Interrogatories Directed to Plaintiff 199

Certificate of Service 202

E-Discovery 203

Contracts and Instruments 204

Letter Acknowledging Modified Terms 205

Articles of Incorporation 206

Articles of Limited Partnership 207

Employment Agreement 214

Confidentiality Agreement 216

Part IV Legal Research and Writing 219

Legal Research and Writing Resources 221

Federal Laws, Codes, and Statutes 221

State, Federal, and Supreme Courts 228

Federal Agencies and Departments 235

Part V Trial Preparation 245

Assisting at Trial: Litigation Paralegals 247

"Timeline" or Progression of Paralegal Tasks in Preparation for Trial 250

Assisting with the Presentation of Witnesses at Trial 253

Assisting with Exhibits 254

The Paralegal's Role in Putting Together a Trial Notebook 255

Setting up a War Room 258

Part VI Areas of Practice 261

Bankruptcy and Collections 263

Helping People Out of Sticky Situations: Collections and Bankruptcy Paralegals 263

Specialty Areas of Practice: Bankruptcy Law Resources 267

Specialty Areas of Practice: Collections Resources 268

Forms 269

Bankruptcy Intake Information 269

Cease and Desist Letter 275

Reaffirmation Agreement 276

Exhibits and Schedules 280

Sample Voluntary Petition Chapter 11 285

Sample Chapter 11 Motion for an Expedited Hearing 298

Corporate and Business Law 303

It's Big Business: Corporate and Business Paralegals 303

Specialty Areas of Practice: Business Law Resources 306

Specialty Areas of Practice: Corporate Law Resources 306

Forms 308

Corporate-Business Law Client Intake Form Sample 308

Articles of Incorporation 309

Certificate of Transaction of Business Under Fictitious Name-By Corporation 311

Contract for Sale and Purchase of Business 312

Sample Corporate Bylaws 321

Shareholders Agreement 329

Contract for Sale of Goods 341

General Partnership Agreement 342

Independent Contractor's Agreement 344

Labor and Employment 347

Assisting with Workplace Issues: Labor and Employment Paralegals 347

Specialty Areas of Practice: Employment Law Resources 350

Forms 351

Intake Form: Plaintiff In An Employment Related Matter 351

Employee Non-compete Agreement 354

Estate Planning 355

Planning for the Future, Administering the Past: Probate and Estates Paralegals 355

Specialty Areas of Practice: Estates, Trusts & Probate Law Resources 359

Forms 361

Confidential Estate Planning Intake Form 361

Family Law 365

Best Interests in Mind: Family Law Paralegals 365

Specialty Areas of Practice: Family Law Resources 368

Forms 369

Client Information Form 369

General Information Sheet 392

Client Income Information 395

Spouse Income Information 396

Real Estate/Property 397

Property List 400

Debt List 401

Monthly Expenses 402

Interrogatories 405

Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage 414

Real Estate 417

Assisting with Land Transactions: Real Estate Paralegals 417

Forms 420

Real Estate Intake Form 420

Information for Probate of Estate 423

Intellectual Property 425

Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Oh My!: Intellectual Property Paralegals 425

Forms 429

Assignment of Copyrights 429

Employee Invention Agreement 430

Employee Non-disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement 431

Trademark Infringement Letter 432

Appendix A State-by-State Resource 433

Appendix B Glossary of Common Legal Terms 443

Index 445

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