In-house staff who are trained to support lawyers in substantive areas are highly valued (See my posts of Aug. 21, 2005: the terms paralegal or legal assistant; March 23, 2006: certificates of paralegals; March 19, 2006: certified legal assistants are as common as non-certified; Jan. 3, 2006: save money by hiring experienced paralegals rather than junior lawyers; March 18, 2005: are there limits to what good paralegals can do; and Aug. 26, 2005: measuring delegation to paralegals.).
Several practice areas tend to use more paralegals, but litigation usually has the most (See my posts of April 2, 2005: six metrics every litigation manager should implement; March 29, 2005: litigation costs and staff; Aug. 27, 2005: litigation staff as a proportion of law department staff; March 12, 2006: on ratios of lawyers per paralegal, practice areas differ greatly; and April 23, 2006: four corporate lawyers to each secretary; Oct. 26, 2005: reverse second a paralegal to a law firm to learn a new area.).
Benchmark metrics and structure both show the influence of in-house paralegals (See my posts of June 28, 2005: to whom should paralegals and secretaries report; June 28, 2005: shift to more paralegals and fewer secretaries; Sept. 27, 2005: 3.0 median paralegals in US departments; Sept. 10, 2005: paralegals should report to the lawyers they support; March 29, 2005: absence of paralegals throws off international staffing metrics; and Oct. 8, 2005: some areas of the world have no paralegals.).