A paralegal is under the guidance of a lawyer, and assists with many legal responsibilities. They help prepare cases and handle many of the administrative tasks involved with pursuing claims, as well as conduct research and execute orders from the lawyer in relation to a case. Paralegal training programs typically offer classes that resemble the first year or two of law school.
A law clerk is a legal professional who works for a lawyer or most likely, a judge, and helps to research and determine legal options in a case. Law clerks have typically completed law school, and get their start as a law clerk. Law students compete intensely for summer law clerk positions because law firms use these temporary worker slots to fill their future attorney job openings.