Florida Makes a Move to License Paralegals: Coming to your state soon?

FLORIDA BILLS PUSH FOR LICENSING, DEFINITION OF PARALEGALS Companion bills in the Florida Legislature are currently under consideration to make Florida the first state in the country to require licenses for paralegals. The bills require the Florida Supreme Court to develop a licensing and continuing education scheme and make it a felony for unlicensed people to identify themselves as paralegals. The bills, sponsored by state Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and state Rep. Richard Steinberg, D-Miami Beach, were filed March 9 and have been assigned to the judiciary committees. They were written by the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations, a consortium... Read more →

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eDiscovery for Techies & Geeks Starts Aug. 31st

eDiscovery for Techies & Geeks starts on August 31, 2010. Interact with other students & instructor. Learn from seasoned pros. 3 courses offered including: Lit Support 101A; Advanced LitSupport; Project Management for Litigation Support Professionals. Contact chere.estrin@theolp.org. Thanks! Read more →

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"Hutchens, Senter & Britton Announces Certified Paralegals"

Well, isn't this encouraging news? Law firm sends out press release praising its paralegals! "Fayetteville, North Carolina-based law firm Hutchens, Senter & Britton, P.A., which specializes in foreclosure and civil litigation, announced that employees Lesley Cavenaugh, Dianne Dunn, and Aileen Gibson have qualified as North Carolina state bar certified paralegals. All three support the firm's bankruptcy group. “'We congratulate Lesley, Dianne, and Aileen on this important achievement,' said Terry Hutchens, managing partner of Hutchens, Senter & Britton. 'Individually, each one's dedication to the profession is to be commended; collectively, they bring a concentration of expertise and talent to our Bankruptcy... Read more →

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Role of Nonlawyers in Law Practice

What the Michigan State Bar has to say about the utilization of legal assistants: "Article 1, Sec 6, of the Bylaws of the State Bar of Michigan defines 'legal assistant' for purposes of membership in the State Bar Legal Assistant Section as follows: "Any person currently employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity engaged in the practice of law, in a capacity or function which involves the performance under the direction and supervision of an attorney of specifically delegated substantive legal work, which work, for the most part, requires a sufficient knowledge of legal... Read more →

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"Paralegals in position to improve reputation of legal profession"

Well, yeah! This is indeed a welcome news article: "Paralegals are critical to improving the reputation of lawyers in the community. The legal profession still suffers from negative stereotypes and some do indeed think we're better off 'at the bottom of the sea,' as the lawyer joke goes. Paralegals can pull lawyers out of this muddy, messy, pool of disrepute by displaying the following qualities. * Honesty and integrity * Professionalism * Giving back through pro bono work and volunteering * Enthusiasm" Author Elizabeth Balfour's speech at the annual San Diego Paralegals' Association Luncheon in June 2006 provided criteria for... Read more →

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Paralegal: “A Fairly Well-Educated Chimp Could Practice Law”

Like the creativity involved in this paralegal's pursuit of a law degree, but truly enjoyed all the comments following the blog's post [link in original]: "A Connecticut paralegal has sued the state’s bar exam committee because it won’t let him take the bar, despite his earning a degree from an unaccredited Internet correspondence law school.... "Mel Thompson took law courses at West Coast School of Law, an Internet correspondence law school based in Downey, Calif., not accredited by the ABA. The school’s program — which has graduated ten students in its brief history — is designed for students who want... Read more →

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Editorial: 'Lawyers will regulate paralegals'

Another strong opinion about regulating Canadian paralegals: "Ontario has passed a law that will regulate paralegals. This is good news. Until now, what has it taken to be a paralegal? Call yourself one. That's it. No training required. No liability insurance. No minimum standards. No discipline for bad ones. "I've seen some good paralegals. I've seen some bloody awful ones too. Of course, the skeptics will say the same about lawyers. At least lawyers have certain minimum training, have passed competency exams, pay liability insurance in case they screw up, and they can get booted out of the profession if... Read more →

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Ontario regulates paralegals, 'puts lawyers in charge'

This news is not a surprise, but it does sound like the battle continues: "Ontario became the first province in Canada to regulate paralegals Thursday, but many in the profession worry they could be forced out of business because they will be regulated by lawyers - the very people they compete against for most of their work. "The Liberal government had to use its majority to out-vote the Conservatives and New Democrats, who stood in opposition to the Access to Justice Act - a new law that puts the Law Society of Upper Canada in charge of regulating paralegals [PDF... Read more →

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"Lawyer, paralegal square off for justice position"

Love this news story! "Columbia Falls paralegal Jerry O’Neil and Whitefish attorney Mark Sullivan were the top vote-getters among four candidates for Flathead County Justice of the Peace in the June primary. "Now they face off Nov. 7 for the judge job that will expand from part time to full time in January. Incumbent Dale Trigg is not running for re-election. [snip] "The Flathead County commissioners briefly changed the requirements for the position last spring, requiring the judge to be a lawyer. "O’Neil challenged that and the commissioners withdrew the requirement. "Sullivan said he believes the justice of the peace... Read more →

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Law firm runs clothing drives for needy women

Good news about a Seattle firm & its managing partner: "When Russell M. Aoki took a break from college and worked on the maintenance crew of a golf course, he discovered his calling. "Seniors who he met while on the job 'took me aside and encouraged me to go back to school and consider going to law school,' said Aoki, who was recently installed as one of the board of governors for the Washington State Bar Association. [snip] "Aoki is a trial attorney who specializes in criminal defense and business litigation. One of his most prominent cases involved representing a... Read more →

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