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  • Writer's pictureJennifer LaVia


Learn more about the individual roles within a law firm.

When it comes to the medical field, most people know who the players are: doctor, nurse,

physician’s assistant, certified nursing assistant and so forth. But most people don’t know all the

players in a law office. A lawyer is someone who has a Juris Doctorate (JD) and has been

admitted to the state bar. Lawyers can only practice law in the states where they are admitted.

Someone who has graduated from law school has the JD, but isn’t a lawyer until admitted to the

bar. After admission, the lawyer can use the titles “Esquire,” “Attorney,” “Attorney at Law,” or

“Lawyer.” An attorney may also have an LLM degree, which is a Master of Laws in a special

area like tax. Anyone who uses those titles without being admitted to the bar may run into

trouble for unauthorized practice of law.

When it comes to the title “Paralegal,” the rules aren’t as clear. A paralegal or legal assistant is

anyone who is “qualified by education, training, or work experience, who works under the

supervision of a member of The Florida Bar and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which the supervising lawyer is responsible.” Special designations exist for “Certified Paralegals,” “Florida Certified Paralegals,” and “Florida Registered Paralegals” that have specific testing and education requirements.

In addition to lawyers and paralegals, a law office may have personnel who are called “intake

specialists” whose job is to obtain the preliminary information needed from new clients. A “case

manager” is a person assigned to follow the progress of the case and perform administrative or

substantive legal tasks under the supervision of a lawyer. In charge of the “business” of a law

firm is usually a “firm administrator” or “office manager.” In smaller offices, people may be

cross-trained to perform several of these jobs. In larger offices, there may be also be a marketing team, ethics counsel, pro bono coordinator, risk management, legislative affairs, human resources, and many other personnel. Clients may not be aware of all the people involved, but they are all working for the benefit of the clients.

At LaVia Law we strive to provide our clients with the advocacy of a large firm with the feel of a

small firm, using a team of people who are passionate about the work they do.

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