There are a few circumstances that will allow you to skip some of the steps to becoming a lawyer. If you pass the ABA's first year law students exam, often referred to as the baby bar, you can get into a law school if you've had a minimum of 2 years college study.
If you don't want to go to school at all, you can take the baby bar AND an exam called the College Level Examination. If you pass both, you can study directly under a lawyer or judge for 4 years for an opportunity to take the Bar exam.
However, you should be aware that both of these situations are highly improbable. They're mainly meant for people that already have the knowledge or experience to be lawyers, but for one reason or another haven't met some of the basic requirements. Also, you should not anticipate finding a judge or lawyer to accept you very easily. Getting an unpaid clerkship with a judge is a highly coveted position for a law school student, and these positions generally only go to the top of the class, so the idea that a person with no experience who's just looking for a shortcut to becoming a lawyer will get one is not likely.
If you're looking for a quick way to becoming a lawyer, one of the two paths above is your best bet, but it will require an incredible amount of work. If you were just looking for the easiest way, go to a 4 year college, then to a 3 year law school.
That is 100% dependent on what type of law firm you work and how large the firm is that you work for. The simple answer to this question amongst those of us in the field is, "What don't we do?"
The only thing I do NOT do in my job is sign any legal documents and give legal advice.
I work in a small law firm and am the sole paralegal to three construction litigation attorneys. My experience is vastly different from that of a family law paralegal or even a civil litigation paralegal. I work in such a specialized office, that my experience will not be the same as your more mainstream paralegals.
I do everything from making coffee every morning, washing the attorneys' coffee cups at the end of the day (not because I am asked, but because they are good guys who are often too busy to remember), writing correspondence to clients, proofreading Motions, drafting Motions, drafting Orders, drafting discovery responses and requests, aiding the attorney in drafting Requests for Equitable Adjustments, keep up with local and state rule changes, contact the Court Administrator to set hearings, contact district and county clerks when needed, arrange Original Petitions for service with constable/sheriff, calendar deadlines, keep up with deadlines, ensure that the clients get copies of EVERYTHING sent out on their behalf, archive old files, maintain the file room, digitize old files, maintain our file cabinets, coordinate with opposing counsel regarding mediations, arbitrations, and hearing dates, prepare the attorney for trial, maintain trial software, I am the main user of our OCR software, etc.
The list is endless, really. It all depends on where you work. Larger firms sometimes have file clerks which means you may not have to deal with filing. We employ a cleaning staff, so if you work in a smaller firm that can't afford the luxury, you may have to clean toilets, the kitchen area, etc. If you work in a family law firm, you may not deal with discovery very often.
I hope that helps.