The layoffs and hiring freezes during the recession that resulted in smaller attorney staffs at firms nationwide are helping fuel growth and evolution in the paralegal industry, said Steve Savage, managing partner at the Phoenix law office of Ballard Spahr LLP. Mr. Savage said that because of the pared-down attorney workforce, coupled with tighter client budgets, law firms are asking paralegals to take on more responsibilities.

“There’s always pressure on fees,” Mr. Savage said. “The work lawyers are supposed to be doing, they will still be doing. But there will be more movement to get paralegals to do more that lawyers were doing, in terms of document-based work and other forms of legal services. I think it’s a good thing.”

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