A Brief History of the Paralegal Profession

Paralegal ProfessionCan you imagine a law firm without paralegals and legal assistants? The workload that lawyers have to shoulder is definitely stressing. It’s not that their practice revolves around those who assist them; it’s just that the role of paralegals in the legal industries is significant enough to help make things more efficient.

Some may say that if lawyers before could do things without paralegals, then they can still do it the same way today. On the contrary, things in the legal business have changed way too much. The demand for their services has increased extensively to the point where one lawyer handles at least nine cases.

The Need for Non-lawyer Professionals

It was about four decades ago when legal professionals decided it’s necessary to get help from non-legal practitioners. It was this necessity that prompted the Congress, law firms, local bar associations, and the American Bar Association (ABA) to appoint knowledgeable secretaries in handling all legal paperwork.

Instead of the lawyer staying up all night to prepare the essential documents, that has become the job of the paralegals. These individuals are not members of the bar, although they have sufficient understanding of the legal processes. They are exposed to the system enough to know the basic procedures.

Regulation and Official Recognition

With the increasing number of non-lawyer professionals in law firms, the ABA issued a guideline and set of requirements for paralegals. Online paralegal certificate providers such as LegalStudies.com were not yet recognized at that time. Then they created the Special Committee to handle all paralegal matters.

While the employment of these non-lawyer professionals was already popular a few years back, it was not until 1986 when the authorities officially defined the role of paralegals. This was an attempt to limit the use of the term to similar professionals. They must have the necessary legal education and training.

Paralegals have gone a long way in helping the industry grow and become more manageable. Today, more than 65% of lawyers and law firms are procuring the services of paralegals. Reports say that this number continues to rise, and the Department of Labor estimates the employment opportunities for paralegals will increase in a much faster rate.

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