Legal aid work involves assisting people who cannot afford legal representation (see Reference 1). Lawyers, law students and paralegals in legal aid firms, clinics or centers receive low-income people, hear them out and either represent them in court cases or guide them on their legal rights in personal and business matters. Although only lawyers that can represent clients in court, paralegals and law students also play a vital role in researching on legal matters, preparing the relevant briefs for clients and advising them. The job description of legal aid workers varies from one firm to another.
A legal aid worker should be familiar with the sources, principles and application of the law to offer assistance. Ordinarily, advertisements for legal aid workers indicate that volunteers or aspirants will be involved in reviewing the matters of low-income clients and advising them accordingly (see Reference 2). Consequently, aspirants to the position should have legal knowledge to ascertain the right course of action for the client.
Legal aid job descriptions highlight the need for the applicant’s commitment toward justice for the poor. The job description may provide that workers will engage in supporting, promoting and participating in community legal aid initiatives and will liaise with other bodies to enhance awareness of the assistance offered. Occupants of the legal aid jobs would have to demonstrate a continuing commitment to assisting existing clients and also drawing in new ones who also need help (see Reference 3).
Legal aid work is involving and at times challenging so the job description calls for experienced workers that can effectively handle the large caseload. A lawyer who wishes to join legal aid requires previous demonstrated experience in handling the types of matters that clients bring (see Reference 4). Paralegals and law students also need experience in conducting research and compiling the necessary documentary evidence to support the client’s position in a matter.
Legal aid workers must first ascertain the client’s issues before they can help them. Therefore, job descriptions require aspirants to have excellent client relations. Low-income persons who need legal aid are not only likely to know very little law but also sometimes have a low level of education. As a result, the legal worker would have to ask leading questions and keep seeking clarifications to get to the root of a client’s matter.