Paralegals have been around since the early seventies and the debate whether paralegals should be regulated has been around just as long. Paralegals assist attorneys in various legal capacities including drafting documents, conducting factual and legal research and working with clients. Although many paralegals can do much of the same work as lawyers, they may not practice law or give legal advice to clients. In Catherine R. Durgin’s piece in the Business Law Today, form the American Bar Association, she writes that “the requirements of regulatory programs vary from state to state. In general, regulation comes in several forms, including registration, certification, and licensure.” They are defined as follows: “Registration involves the process by which individuals or institutions list their names with an association or agency. It may be voluntary or mandatory. Education, training or bonding requirements are sometimes associated with registration. Certification programs are designed to validate an individual's specific skill and knowledge at or above an established performance level. Elements of professional certification programs include established standards, consistent and relevant testing, and regular updating and renewal. Certification programs can be administered through private organizations or public agencies. Certification is typically not a legal precedent to gain employment in a particular field. Licensure is the process by which an agency or branch of government grants permission to persons meeting predetermined qualifications to engage in a given occupation or use a particular title. Licensure is a mandatory legal condition for employment and is generally enacted by legislation. The impetus behind a legislature to license a profession is the health, welfare and safety of the public.”
There are three major organizations that participate in paralegal professional development. They are The American Bar Association (ABA), The National Association...
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