There are not just lawyers in a law firm. There are several other law-related careers involved. You would be surprised at how often you do not actually speak with a lawyer when you initially speak to a law firm employee over the phone or in person. It also does not dawn on most people to even ask about the degrees and official job titles or roles of people in the law firm. You should know who you are speaking to when you engage a law firm employee. Read this article to learn more about the employees in a law firm.
The Legal Administrative Assistants
Legal administrative assistants are assistants who have been trained in various law matters that they have to handle in addition to their administrative duties in the firm. Besides answering phones and making copies, these are the ladies and gentlemen you greet at the reception desk when you enter the front door. Sometimes these professionals are in training to advance their careers in law and legal matters, but they otherwise cannot advise you or manage your legal problems.
Paralegals are not quite lawyers, but they can represent lawyers in the lawyers' absence. For example, if the lawyer you want to hire is not present but the paralegal that works with that lawyer is present, the paralegal may meet with you, take some notes, and do a little research on your particular case. This information is then passed along to the lawyer you want to hire.
The First-Year Junior Partners
If it seems as though you have a legitimate case, the lawyer will want to meet with you in person. If your case has too many holes and not enough law to support it, the lawyer will generally call to speak with you briefly on the phone or send you a courteous email that tells you why he/she will not take your case. Otherwise, a first-year junior partner with the law firm may be inclined to take your case for you, if you are willing to hire a less-experienced lawyer to defend you.
The Owners and Partners
Finally, a law firm has one or more owners. These are the senior partners. The senior partners may take on more partners if they join forces with other law firms. They may also make junior partners, signaling that these lawyers have the ability to become partners if the "juniors" are willing to take cases the senior partners will not take.
For more information on who will be helping you with your case, speak with a local law firm.