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About Paralegals

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Review this area and the links below to learn more about the paralegal profession and NALA's role in leading the field.

Click here to read about the Paralegal Profession in the
Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15


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A legal assistant or paralegal is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. (Adopted by the ABA in 1997) 


What do paralegals do? What are their typical duties and responsibilities across the various specialty practice areas. Check out this article:  Typical Paralegal Duties  published in the 2009 Career Chronicle edition of Facts & Findings!


Facts & Findings for all paralegals!

News & Upcoming Events
Certified Paralegal Program Receives National Accreditation

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) has accredited the NALA Certified Paralegal certification program for a five year period, expiring April 30, 2019 ...

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Paralegal CLE App for iPad and Androids Now Available

NALA Advanced Paralegal Certification courses, and NALA Campus self-study programs are now available from the Apple Store and Google Play! Paralegals may now purchase or login to courses in which they are currently enrolled through this app. The app features a free course preview for each of the 32 programs, and access to course pre-tests for CP Exam prep courses!

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New Advanced Certification Course - Child Custody

A new Advanced Paralegal Certification (APC) course in Family Law – Child Custody, Support and Visitation is now available to paralegals seeking advanced certification in this specialty practice area ...

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Certifying Board Releases Job Analysis Report

The report is used by the Certifying Board to validate and update the Certified Paralegal exam as needed and ensure NALA has current information about the roles and responsibilities of paralegals.

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Need a product or service for your office?

The NALA Vendor Directory is a terrific place to start. This is a list of legal vendors offering a great range of help including deposition services, document services, and investigations. Click the link below...
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Click here for more news articles
 
NALA Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Copyright 2007; Adopted 1975; Revised 1979, 1988; 1995; 2007.
National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc.

Each NALA member agrees to follow the canons of the NALA Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility Violations of the Code may result in cancellation of membership. First adopted by the NALA membership in May of 1975, the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility is the foundation of ethical practices of paralegals in the legal community.


A paralegal must adhere strictly to the accepted standards of legal ethics and to the general principles of proper conduct. The performance of the duties of the paralegal shall be governed by specific canons as defined herein so that justice will be served and goals of the profession attained. (See Model Standards and Guidelines for Utilization of Legal Assistants, Section II.)
 
The canons of ethics set forth hereafter are adopted by the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc., as a general guide intended to aid paralegals and attorneys. The enumeration of these rules does not mean there are not others of equal importance although not specifically mentioned. Court rules, agency rules and statutes must be taken into consideration when interpreting the canons.
 
Definition:  Legal assistants, also known as paralegals, are a distinguishable group of persons who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. Through formal education, training and experience, legal assistants have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney.
 
In 2001, NALA members also adopted the ABA definition of a legal assistant/paralegal, as follows:
 
A legal assistant or paralegal is a person qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. (Adopted by the ABA in 1997)

Canon 1.
A paralegal must not perform any of the duties that attorneys only may perform nor take any actions that attorneys may not take.

Canon 2.
A paralegal may perform any task which is properly delegated and supervised by an attorney, as long as the attorney is ultimately responsible to the client, maintains a direct relationship with the client, and assumes professional responsibility for the work product.

Canon 3.
A paralegal must not: (a) engage in, encourage, or contribute to any act which could constitute the unauthorized practice of law; and (b) establish attorney-client relationships, set fees, give legal opinions or advice or represent a client before a court or agency unless so authorized by that court or agency; and (c) engage in conduct or take any action which would assist or involve the attorney in a violation of professional ethics or give the appearance of professional impropriety.

Canon 4.
A paralegal must use discretion and professional judgment commensurate with knowledge and experience but must not render independent legal judgment in place of an attorney. The services of an attorney are essential in the public interest whenever such legal judgment is required.

Canon 5.
A paralegal must disclose his or her status as a paralegal at the outset of any professional relationship with a client, attorney, a court or administrative agency or personnel thereof, or a member of the general public. A paralegal must act prudently in determining the extent to which a client may be assisted without the presence of an attorney.

Canon 6.
A paralegal must strive to maintain integrity and a high degree of competency through education and training with respect to professional responsibility, local rules and practice, and through continuing education in substantive areas of law to better assist the legal profession in fulfilling its duty to provide legal service.

Canon 7.
A paralegal must protect the confidences of a client and must not violate any rule or statute now in effect or hereafter enacted controlling the doctrine of privileged communications between a client and an attorney.

Canon 8.
A paralegal must disclose to his or her employer or prospective employer any pre-existing client or personal relationship that may conflict with the interests of the employer or prospective employer and/or their clients.

Canon 9.
A paralegal must do all other things incidental, necessary, or expedient for the attainment of the ethics and responsibilities as defined by statute or rule of court.

Canon 10.
A paralegal's conduct is guided by bar associations' codes of professional responsibility and rules of professional conduct.